Jury finds John Wall guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Uta von Schwedler

Posted at 8:57 PM, Mar 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-13 18:20:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- After deliberating for most of the day Thursday, a jury found John Wall guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Uta von Schwedler.

The jury began deliberating around 2 p.m. Thursday after hearing evidence in the multi-week trial, and the verdict was read at about 9:40 p.m. Former Utah pediatrician John Wall was found guilty of killing his ex-wife, who was a respected medical researcher at the University of Utah. The two had a long and bitter divorce and custody battle.

FOX 13 News' Kelly Keiter was live at the courthouse, and she reports that Wall hung his head a little bit as the verdict was read and a small gasp sounded out in the courtroom.

The sentencing date has been scheduled for April 28 at 9 a.m.

IMG_4092After the verdict was read, Pelle Wall, the son of John Wall and von Schwedler, spoke to reporters and thanked the Salt Lake City police for their investigation and the prosecution for their efforts. He said he is "humbled" by how much work it took to get to this verdict.

Pelle Wall said: “We have spent the last three and a half years seeking justice… justice has prevailed… Now it is time to heal.”

Nils Abramson, von Schwedler's boyfriend, also spoke. He said lives had been changed by the hate of one person, and that “…compassion, love and understanding is the only way to get through this life.”

During the course of the trial, numerous experts testified--with witnesses for both the prosecution and defense testifying about the scene where von Schwedler was found. The prosecution sought to prove that Wall had killed von Schwedler but tried to make the scene look like a suicide. Uta von Schwedler was found dead in a bathtub in 2011 with Xanax in her system.

A forensic pathologist who testified Wednesday said she believes the scene was a murder staged to look like something else.

“This was an altered scene, a staged scene,” Forensic pathologist Marcella Fierro testified. “Someone wants me–if I’m an investigator going in there and looking at this–to think that this lady cut herself and when cutting didn’t work, she took an overdose of pills and hopped in the tub and drowned herself.”

Defense attorneys called witnesses to dispute that claim, including a private investigator who examined the possibility von Schwedler had obtained Xanax illegally.

The mental state of von Schwedler at the time of her death was also a focus during the trial, as prosecuting attorneys called relatives and friends to testify regarding their belief that von Schwedler was not mentally ill and would not be likely to take her own life.