SALT LAKE CITY — A multi-day preliminary hearing is set to begin Tuesday to determine if there is enough evidence to send a Salt Lake City pediatrician to trial for the murder of his ex-wife.
John Brickman Wall, 49, has been in jail since his April arrest on $1.5 million bail.
His ex-wife Uta Von Schwedler, 49, a University of Utah biologist, was found dead in the bathtub of her Salt Lake City home in September 2011. She died from drowning as well as fatal amount of Xanax, the medical examiner ruled.
Police called the death suspicious, but waited nearly 18 months to arrest and charge Brickman Wall, who maintains he is innocent.
From the time of his mother's death until his father's arrest, the couple's oldest son, Pelle Wall, fueled speculation about his dad being a suspect by saying he believed his father did it and asking the court to remove his two youngest siblings from his father's custody.
Pelle Wall testified during a bail hearing this summer that his father is a dangerous man who should not be released from jail.
"I've seen the blind hatred he harbored for my mother," said Pelle Wall, 19, speaking on behalf of his deceased mother. "Irrational hatred is incredibly dangerous, as I've experienced firsthand. I refuse to gamble with those I love the most."
Brickman Wall's attorney, G. Fred Metos, argued during that hearing that his client was not a flight risk, nor a threat to the community, and deserved a chance to have a reasonable bail. He said his client would check in regularly, wear a GPS monitor and give up his passport in exchange for a lower bail.
But Utah District Court Judge Denise P. Lindberg denied the request by Brickman Wall to lower his bail.
Prosecutors will bring witnesses to the stand this week as they lay out their case against Brickman Wall.