Not enough evidence to prove ex-wife’s death was a homicide, expert says during Wall trial

Posted at 10:10 PM, Mar 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-10 00:16:03-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Testifying for the defense Monday, forensic pathologist Judy Melinek told the jury she does not believe there is enough evidence to prove Uta von Schwedler's death was a homicide.

Based on her experience, she believes it was a suicide or an accident.

“There's a lack of deep penetrating stab wounds to her neck, face or chest,” Melinek said. “The presence of the knife at the scene has her DNA on it, both on the blade and on the handle. And there's a lack of forced entry into the home."

Sgt. Justin Hudson, a detective who investigated the case in 2012, testified he does not believe von Schwedler was defending herself against an assailant.

“When I typically see a stabbing, it's because someone wants to kills someone else,” Hudson said. “They're not trying to be nice about it. So, they're stabbing, they're stabbing, they're slicing the neck, trying to get the stomach, trying to get whatever they can. And they're pretty deep cuts."

Another witness, Anna Zannin, a blood stain expert, testified the blood patterns on von Schwedler's comforter in her bedroom do not indicate a clear struggle.

“There's some sort of movement, but it's not spread over an enormous area," Zannin said.

During their cross-examination, prosecutors questioned the witnesses' credentials.

Anna Rossi, Prosecuting Attorney:  “And, just for the record, you're being paid to testify on behalf of the defendant today, correct?”

Judy Melinek, Forensic Pathologist: “I'm being paid for my time. Yes, that is correct."

The trial is scheduled to come to a close at the end of the week. If convicted, the former pediatrician could spend the rest of his life in prison.