- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Months after his ex-wife was found dead in her bathtub, Utah doctor John Brickman Wall brought up her death at the dinner table and aggressively tried to convince his oldest son that her death was a suicide, Pelle Wall testified Wednesday.

After he went upstairs to do his homework, Pelle Wall said his father brought him a copy of an autopsy report and pushed him to read it.

“He was very aggressive and intimidating,” Pelle Wall said. “I said, ‘No, that’s not how I want to remember my mom.’”

Pelle Wall moved out of his father’s house the next day.

His mother, 49-year-old cancer researcher Uta von Schwedler was found dead in a bathtub full of cold water in her Salt Lake City home with cuts on her legs and a fatal level of Xanax in her system in September 2011. She was locked in bitter custody battle with her ex-husband at the time.

John Wall denied knowing anything about von Schwedler’s death when he was questioned by police the night she was found, but later incoherently asked his children if he was a monster.

Though the death was initially treated as a suicide, Pelle Wall fueled speculation by saying he thought his father killed his mother. John Wall was arrested and charged with murder more than a year after her death. Wednesday marked the third week of his murder trial.

DNA analyst Emily Jeskie testified Wednesday that John Wall is a possible match to DNA found on von Schwedler’s comforter and her pillowcase, but Jeskie acknowledged under questioning from defense lawyer Fred Metos that DNA can be transferred in a washing machine and could have come from one or more of the couple’s four children.

Male DNA was also found under one of von Schwedler’s fingernails, but there wasn’t enough to say whether it might have belonged to Wall. Prosecutors say it’s possible that some evidence was washed away in the bathtub.

A medical examiner ruled von Schwedler drowned but couldn’t say if her death was a homicide or a suicide. John Wall’s lawyers argue she could have killed herself.

The defense has also thrown suspicion onto her boyfriend, Nils Abramson. He stayed at her house sometimes, and Jeskie said his DNA could also be a match to the evidence found on the bed.

Abramson also pushed police for more investigation into von Schwedler’s death. He called John Wall’s house and hung up, drove by his house and once followed him for miles in hopes that he would admit to a role in her death, Abramson acknowledged on the stand Wednesday.

The day von Schwedler was found, John Wall came into work with a bloodied eyeball and scratches on his face. He explained the injury to co-workers by saying his dog scratched him while he was sleeping on the porch.

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