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Cover Story

Deadly Suspicion Page 3

A son fights to see his father held responsible for his mother's death

By Cimaron Neugebauer
Posted // July 24,2013 -

A Final Plea

Wall, 49, is being held at the Salt Lake County jail on $1.5 million cash-only bail. He’s currently awaiting a preliminary hearing for charges of murder, a first-degree felony, and burglary, also a first-degree felony.

On a June afternoon, after two recesses from his father’s three-hour bond-reduction hearing, Pelle pleaded with 3rd District Court Judge Denise Lindberg to not allow the bond to be reduced to $100,000.

“He had the motive, he had the means,” he told Lindberg. “I know him better than any person in this room. Perhaps better than any person alive. I’ve seen the blind hatred he harbored toward my mother.”

Pelle went on to say that when his mother died, that hatred didn’t. It continued to spread to friends of his mother and her family and now to his adoptive family, the Oglesbys.

“They are all walking targets,” Pelle said. “That is my greatest concern.”

Prosecuting attorney Paul Parker told Lindberg that Wall’s actions toward Oglesby show he would be a danger to others if let out of jail.

“He followed [Amy Oglesby] from one place to another to confront people that are opposed to him,” Parker said.

Lindberg refused to reduce bond, agreeing with the prosecution that Wall is a flight risk and, since he sought out Amy Oglesby unprovoked, he is capable of doing so again.

Wall will remain in jail for now. The next hearing will be a three-day preliminary hearing in October.

For now, life goes on for Pelle and Uta’s friends and family. Pelle has completed a year of college in southern California, where his parents originally met, and still plans to study medicine.

The Oglesbys recently adopted Pelle and are also temporarily caring for his siblings. A child-custody hearing that will decide where the children will permanently live is scheduled for mid-August.

Wall’s attorney, Fred Metos, would not comment on allegations from the family about Wall. He said they are hoping for an acquittal.

Metos says Wall’s jail visits are limited.

“His spirits seem fine, he understands what is going on,” Metos said. “He knows we are working on the case. He is remaining very positive about it.”

Pelle hasn’t visited him.

Though the preliminary trial will undoubtedly open wounds, the family is happy that the case has come this far and are anxious to see justice served.

Amy Oglesby says those who loved and cared about Uta “haven’t forgotten and won’t ever let [her death] be forgotten.” 

Cimaron Neugebauer is a freelance reporter. He tweets at @CimCity.


Thinking of the Children

Almut Von Schwedler says she was surprised to see all “the red tape in the juvenile court” and “the bureaucratic hurdles to protect those children from their father.”

She says she was flabbergasted to learn what was done with the children right after John Wall was questioned by police and was taken to the Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute, where he stayed for about a week—nothing. Wall made no arrangements for where the children would stay. Pelle stayed with his friend Jessica Oglesby and her family. Other family friends took the three younger children in.

And after Wall was released, “I was absolutely disgusted to find out police had returned Johnny Wall to a home with four underage children without notifying any of the family,” Almut told City Weekly in a recent phone interview from her home in Australia. “No one cared about the children,” she says.

Uta’s boyfriend, Nils Abramson, says it’s for those reasons that he approached state Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, to create a bill to mirror the Braden & Charlie Powell Act, which is pending in Washington State, and would let a judge decide if it’s in the best interest of a child to stay with a parent who is a suspect in a missing-person or murder investigation of the other parent.

The bill is named after two Utah boys whose father, Josh Powell, was suspected of killing his wife, Susan Powell. In 2012, he attacked his two sons, ages 5 and 7, with a hatchet before setting his Washington home on fire and killing all three of them.

Abramson says that while the bill, which is still being drafted and should be presented at the next state legislative session, won’t help the Wall children, it could help others who don’t have the understanding and financial means to keep a child-custody issue active.

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