Pediatrician was 'very evasive' when questioned about ex-wife's death, officer testifies
Abramson, who is a social worker, described his girlfriend as a happy and cordial person who did not have thoughts about or exhibit signs of suicide. When asked if she had any enemies, he replied: "The only person I can think of who would be an enemy is her ex-husband, John."
The most tense moment Tuesday came when Salt Lake police detective Mike Hardin was cross-exmained by defense attorney Fred Metos. After von Schwedler's body was discovered, Hardin and another officer went to Wall's house to take him to police headquarters for questioning. Hardin said Wall wasn't acting normal.
"He never asked us why we were there, what this was concerning, or anything of the sort," he testified.
The officers also noticed scratches above and below Wall's left eye. Hardin said they appeared to be fingernail scratches. Wall had several excuses for the scratches, Hardin testified, including that his dog was responsible. He then told the officers that the scratches on each arm were caused by rose bushes.
After 90 minutes of questioning, Hardin said it was clear to him that Wall was being evasive — particularly when trying to answer questions about where he was on Sept. 26 and 27, 2011, or when he had last been at von Schwedler's house.
"We believed that Johnny Wall was not being truthful. He was being very evasive to the relatively easy questions that were being asked," Hardin said.
When Wall repeatedly told police he didn't know where he was that day, and made statements such as, "I don't think I did it," the tone of the interview quickly escalated from calm to confrontational. For the next five to six minutes, the questioning of Wall became very heated, with the two officers yelling at Wall at one point and accusing him of murdering his wife.
"If I committed a crime, I'd sure as hell know where I was," Hardin told Wall. "I don't know where the (expletive) I was," an agitated Wall replied back.
Metos said Hardin made statements to his client during that heated confrontation such as, "The reason you don't want to remember is because you killed her," and "You are responsible for her death." And when Hardin asked Wall if he wanted to see who killed von Schwedler, he said he would "get you a mirror."
The cross-examination became tense when Metos claimed Hardin told Wall 25 times during his questioning that a witness saw him at von Schwedler's house at the time of the crime.
"You're telling him the evidence doesn't lie, but you're lying to him about the evidence," Metos said.
Hardin admitted he lied to Wall about a witness stepping forward, but said, "I felt comfortable about it."
Metos spent much of his cross examination questioning and criticizing the detective's interrogation techniques.
At the end of the two hour police interview, Wall said, "I'm a monster." But neither Metos nor Hardin said in court Tuesday whether the sentence was made as a statement or asked as a question.
Like Abramson, Klaus Fiebig, 49, testified that von Schwedler never had thoughts of taking her own life. Fiebig said he has been a friend of John Wall since childhood. He also shared an apartment with von Schwedler at one point and helped introduce the two to each other.
After the divorce, Fiebig, who now lives in Toronto, tried to keep in touch with both Wall and von Schwedler through email and phone calls. By January of 2011, he thought Wall's attitude toward his ex-wife "was very much full of hate and it really escalated."
"He was very much against Uta. Everything that Uta did caused problems for him," Fiebig testified, adding that Wall talked about how his ex-wife had "ruined his life."
During that time, Fiebig said Wall made the comment: "Would it be bad if Uta wasn't here anymore?"
During cross-examination, defense attorney Howard Lundgren said his client had been thinking about moving, and suggested that his comment may have been related to that.
Fiebig also testified that von Schwedler was frustrated with some of her continued problems with Wall. In her last email to him just days before her death, she was looking forward to a planned family vacation to San Diego with her children. She was not a person who talked about suicide, he said.
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