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Ex-nurse charged with killing wife by using IV drugs

Peter Uluave
Peter Uluave

PROVO — A former nurse who told police that his wife died in the hours after he intravenously gave her medication to ease the pain brought on by serious burns has been charged in Provo's 4th District Court with aggravated murder.

Police say Peter Uluave, 34, hooked his wife up to a drip IV in May 2003. The prescription drugs he pumped through her veins ended up killing her, police say.

Uluave was originally charged with practicing medicine without a license, tampering with evidence by changing the death scene at the couple's home before police arrived and possession of stolen property. He allegedly stole prescription drugs and IV supplies from Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where he had worked as a nurse.

"We received some additional documentary evidence and talked to some people and feel the evidence warrants additional charges," Utah County Deputy Attorney Dave Wayment said outside Judge Claudia Laycock's courtroom on Thursday. "We're alleging the evidence is sufficient to have a charge of deliberate homicide in this case right now."

That evidence has not been made public.

Uluave was being represented by attorney Earl Xaiz, but Monday Uluave was found indigent and appointed a public defender. Xaiz could not be reached for comment.

American Fork police say Uluave hooked his wife up to a drip IV on May 17, 2003, and then took his children to a baseball game. She was dead when he returned from the game.

Police say Uluave hid some of the IV equipment and drugs before calling police.

He was arrested a few weeks after his wife's death and booked into the Utah County Jail. He posted $11,655 bail and was released.

In the days following Uluave's wife's death, the county attorney's office was still trying to determine if the death was unintentional.

Uluave said he had been administering his wife drugs through an IV to treat her for third-degree burns suffered from an accidental slip into a bath tub filled with scalding water. She lay unconscious in the tub until a child discovered her and turned off the water, police said.

Uluave also told police his wife was suffering from panic attacks.

On Thursday, Laycock set Uluave's next scheduled court appearance for Nov. 18.

Contributing: Sam Penrod.