- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah pediatrician initially told police he could not recall where he was on the night in September 2011 when his ex-wife was found dead in her bathtub, a detective testified Friday.

In response, police yelled and lied to 50-year-old John Brickman Wall because he would not answer their questions, Salt Lake police Detective Michael Hardin said.

Hardin said at a hearing in the murder case that he and Detective Tracy Ita told Wall a neighbor had seen him leave the home the night of his ex-wife’s death; police could trace his whereabouts by tracking his cellphone; and DNA linked him to the scene.

“Your DNA is under her fingernails,” Hardin recalled saying during the interview.

Defense attorney Fred Metos has said he wants the “somewhat incriminating” statements made by Wall under the psychological and physical coercion to be kept from the upcoming trial.

The lawyer is also seeking to bar statements made by Wall to his children and others in the days after Uta Von Schwedler, 49, was found dead.

“When a person gets upset, they say stupid things,” Metos said in court Friday.

Prosecutors argue the officers’ behavior in the interview was lawful and aimed at finding the facts.

“He can remember picking up the kids,” Hardin testified Friday, referring to the initial interview, “but he cannot or refuses to remember anything from 8 p.m. to the following morning.”

Judge Denise Lindberg did not rule on the motion by the defense lawyer and the hearing was scheduled to resume on June 30. No trial date has been set for Wall, who has pleaded not guilty to murder and aggravated burglary.

Last month, Ita testified that Wall expressed surprise that he was not arrested the night Von Schwedler’s body was found.

“‘But I’m a monster,’” Wall told officers who informed him he would be taken home, according to Ita.

Metos has argued that Wall made the comments after officers asked him what his children would think of him if he was responsible for Von Schwedler’s death. No immediate transcript or recording of the comments were made after the interview, he added.

A medical examiner determined that Von Schwedler died from drowning and a fatal dose of Xanax but stopped short of ruling the death a homicide or suicide. Police called the death suspicious and didn’t arrest Wall until April 2013.

It wasn’t a single piece of evidence but rather a mix of factors that led prosecutors to charge Wall 18 months after Von Schwedler died, police said.

They said Von Schwedler had no prescription for Xanax and was not depressed.

Metos said evidence suggested Von Schwedler took the Xanax herself.


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