What is it with Utah Doctors and Dead Wives in Bathtubs?

Utah Doctor Get 15 years to Life for Killing His Former Wife

“This was an altered scene, a staged scene. 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 then hopped in the tub and drowned herself.” (Forensic pathologist Marcella Fierro testified.)


Doctor John B Wall

Doctor John B Wall

A Salt Lake City pediatrician was given a minimum sentence of 15 years in state prison this morning for the murder of his former wife, whereupon he was immediately escorted out the courtroom door in handcuffs.

Doctor John Brickman Wall, age 51, was found Guilty on March 12 in the death of his ex-wife Doctor Uta von Schwedler, who was a respected medical researcher at the University of Utah. According to court records, the two had engaged in a contentious divorce and custody battle that had gone on for years.

During the trial, numerous witnesses and medical experts for both the prosecution and defense testified about the scene where von Schwedler was found. The prosecution was able to prove that Wall had killed von Schwedler and then staged the scene to look like a suicide. Uta von Schwedler was found dead in a bathtub of her Sugar House neighborhood home with Xanax in her system and injuries to her arms and legs.

Dr Uta von Schwedler

Dr Uta von Schwedler

The jury had deliberated the case for seven hours, and afterwards spoke of key pieces of evidence, such as the DNA found beneath the victim’s fingernails and the scratches on Wall’s face.

Here’s another view of the case:

WATCH: 48 Hours: “Father and Son”

Susan Spencer, "48 Hours Mystery" Reporter, CBS News

Susan Spencer, “48 Hours Mystery” Reporter, CBS News

“We thank Mr. McDonald for bringing this amazing case to our attention.” (Investigative Reporter Susan Spencer, “48 Hours”)

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Regular readers may recall an eerily similar case, which we covered last November:

Doctor Martin MacNeill Gets 15-Life for the Bathtub Murder of His Wife

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3 thoughts on “What is it with Utah Doctors and Dead Wives in Bathtubs?

  1. Ron Slade Sr. says:

    Murder, it seems, isn’t all that uncommon among physicians. Over 20 years of working as a hospital pharmacist, I saw quite a few ‘dysfunctional personalities’.
    One of them sticks out in my memory. Carl Drury, M.D. , now in prison for the murder of his wife in a similar manner, was suspected of drowning his first wife in her bath. but it was the contract he tried to put out on his second that did him in.
    How he was allowed a license to practice medicine is a mystery, as his knowledge of therapeutics was abysmal, and his character was close to nonexistent.

    • Ron –

      I’m thinking about publishing a separate Category for spouse murderers, since they certainly merit their own page. I’ll do some research on the Drury MD case, because it does sound interesting. Thanks & have a great weekend.

  2. Anna von Schwedler says:

    Anna von Schwedler
    July 13 at 10:52am

    Thank you. I found the article.

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