This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A Salt Lake City teen who was sued by his father for possession of scrapbooks made by his late-mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his father.
On Friday, Pelle von Schwedler Wall, 18, filed a counterclaim in 3rd District Court to the scrapbook civil suit and alleged that his father, John Brickman Wall, 49, gave his ex-wife Uta von Schwedler, 49, a lethal dose of a controlled substance and drowned her in a bathtub last year.
The lawsuit states "Wall had the motive, opportunity, intent, ability and the stated desire to end Uta von Schwedler's life." It also states Wall had premeditated the death of his ex-wife. It also requests a jury trial where monetary damages will be proven for the four children, along with punitive damages and the cost incurred by legal fees.
The scrapbook lawsuit was filed by Wall back in November, asking that Pelle von Schwedler Wall stop copying scrapbooks made by the ex-wife and return them and any copies made to him.
While no suspects or persons of interest have been named in Uta von Schwedler's death, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said his homicide team has met with and advised Salt Lake City police who are pursuing the case for possible criminal charges in the "suspicious death."
"They are working the case very diligently," Gill said. "They haven't given up on that case."
Wall and von Schwedler divorced in 2006. At that time Wall refused to return the albums for her four children that chronicled their lives from birth forward. Von Schwedler took legal action to get back the photo albums, court records state.
For whatever reason, the possession of scrapbooks was a "bone of contention in [von Schwedler's] divorce," the woman's boyfriend has said. Since that time Wall had made comments to his son about how to kill someone and get away with it, according to court records. Once he told a co-worker at his pediatric office about a time when he tried to hit his ex-wife with his car and stated "I should have properly run [Uta] over when I had the chance."
In the evening and early morning of her death, von Schwedler received numerous text messages from Wall using one of the children's phones demanding her to return the photo albums. Early that morning, Wall's daughter woke up but couldn't find her dad. The car was also gone. A witness saw Wall driving in the Foothill Drive area during the early morning hours of Sept. 27, court records state.
Von Schwedler was found dead the night of Sept. 27 by her boyfriend, Nils Abramson, in an overflowing bathtub of ice cold water with a scrapbook lying on top of her and a knife under her body. She was nearly naked, only wearing shorts. The medical examiner reported the cause of death to be drowning, but also noted she had a potentially lethal dose of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax in her system.
When Wall came home from a police interview, he gathered his children and told them for the first time, "Uta is dead and they think I did it."
Scared, one of the children called a family friend for help. While the friend was there, Wall muttered to himself repeatedly about Xanax, court records state. The friend decided to take Wall to Utah Neuropsychiatric Unit, where he stayed for six days.
Wall and his parents didn't attend von Schwedler's memorial service. He also forbade the children from having any photos or discussion about Germany or von Schwedler, according to court records that stated the four children were not allowed to grieve over their mother's death.
In a statement on behalf of Pelle von Schwedler Wall, the Oglesby family, who took him in since he turned 18, stated appreciation for the Salt Lake City police and the District Attorney's office for staying committed to solving the criminal case.
Legal Counsel for Pelle von Schwedler Wall said in a written statement. "During this difficult time, we emotionally support Pelle and have been assured that he will cooperate with and assist the police in any way he can,"
Wall nor his legal counsel returned calls requesting comment.