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Woman, 75, testifies at her Wyoming murder trial

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A 75-year-old Missouri woman on trial in Wyoming testified Tuesday she shot her husband almost 40 years ago in a desperate effort to protect her toddler daughter from abuse by a habitually violent man, while prosecutors pointed out inconsistencies in her account from one telling to the next.

Alice Uden, of Chadwick, Missouri, is charged with first-degree murder in Ronald Holtz's death in late 1974 or early 1975.

Her trial has featured emotional testimony from one of her sons, who said last week that Uden told him in the 1970s that she killed Holtz as he slept. At one point during his testimony, Todd Scott turned to his frail mother seated in a wheelchair and said: "I hate you."

Uden had been married to Holtz for only a month or two. A nurse, she met the 24-year-old Vietnam veteran while working in the psychiatric unit of a Veterans Administration hospital.

Prosecutors argue Holtz was asleep when Uden shot him in the back of the head at their Cheyenne trailer home.

Uden's attorneys say her daughter was moments from being attacked by Holtz when Uden saved her. They say Holtz had a long history of violent outbursts and drug use and became abusive soon after they married.

Holtz had a job driving a taxi at night, Uden said, and flew into a rage when Uden's 2-year-old daughter began crying one morning while he was trying to sleep.

Uden testified Holtz knocked down Uden and stormed into the girl's bedroom. Uden said she grabbed her .22-caliber rifle from a broom closet and shot Holtz in the back of the head, from a couple feet away, as he stood at the crib.

But Laramie County District Attorney Scott Homar said Uden had changed her story. He said she previously told investigators she got the gun from a bedroom closet much farther from the crib - and much less readily available in the urgent situation.

"That's not the way it happened," Uden testified in court. "I didn't go to that closet."

Homar also asked Uden about a different version of events she told a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent in a September interview in Christian County, Missouri.

"You spontaneously, without being asked, said, 'I was terrified I was him, I was afraid of him, I shot him while he was sleeping?'" Homar said.

"I don't remember," Uden said.

Holtz was Uden's third husband. Investigators recovered his remains last summer from an abandoned mine shaft on a small cattle ranch between Cheyenne and Laramie.

Scott, one of Uden's sons by her first marriage, testified he has been telling police for years that his mother once told him she'd shot Holtz as he slept. He said her words haunted him. Three previous attempts by investigators to find Holtz's remains in the mine, starting in 1989, turned up no more than the bones of dead livestock and pets dumped there over the years.

Scott told jurors last week that the murder trial was the first time he'd seen Uden in 20 years.

Police arrested Alice Uden and her fourth and current Gerald Uden, 71, in Missouri in September. Gerald Uden has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murders for shooting his ex-wife and her two children in central Wyoming in 1980.

Prosecutors haven't linked the cases, and neither Gerald Uden nor his case has been mentioned at Alice Uden's trial.

Alice Uden's four oldest children, including Scott, were living with their father in Illinois at the time of Holtz's death. Uden testified that after she shot Holtz, she drove to the Denver area and left her youngest with her in-laws.

She then drove back to Cheyenne, emptied Christmas decorations out of a 55-gallon cardboard barrel and stuffed Holtz's 175-pound body inside, she said. She rolled the barrel onto the trailer porch and into her car trunk.

Alice Uden said she tied down the trunk and drove the barrel to the Remount Ranch, where she and second husband Donald Prunty were caretakers before Prunty died in 1973.

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patmaui May 06 2014 at 10:34 PM

This is one of the finest examples of poorly written journalism I have ever read!

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pdgrovebaskets May 06 2014 at 9:17 PM

I can believe this woman's story in a heartbeat. People like this woman's son don't have a CLUE what many of these Vietnam vets were like when they got back. I've known a few myself who were REALLY messed up. Also, there weren't all these places wives and children could go if they had to flee a violent spouse, like today.. Additionally there would have been many who would have blamed HER of all people. The man was still considered "head of the house" in those years even if he was a complete "arse". At that time, you were on your OWN. I bet MANY of the people involved in this case don't have a clue as to what this woman probably went through. I bet even the lawyers are 35 yr old snots who haven't a clue what America was llike then. There are STILL Vietnam vets 50 years later who are a COMPLETE mess and will NEVER be right. Odds are, her spouse would have been one of them who by now would have been dead, in prison, or a psych ward. MANY of his buddies are right there.

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1 reply
What's Shakin T pdgrovebaskets May 06 2014 at 9:52 PM

" I've known a few myself who were REALLY messed up."

Well, if you knew a FEW---then the WHOLE lot of them must have been REALLY messed up, Right? Any messed up Nam vet that was really messed up upon returning home, is a product of the US government and therefore are not liable for ANY negative actions they may have caused. If you lived the period as you let on, you'd also know that the US government denied Agent Orange and would not compensate medically. You my friend, were probably one of the many thousands that SPIT in the faces of the returning Nam vets---therefore I SPIT in your face loser!

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1 reply
theboneman What's Shakin T May 06 2014 at 10:28 PM

wow, are you blind, all my unkles were in nam, 8 of them, and unkle sam didnt tell them to go find that pure heroin over there and shoot it up, i grew up in a dav club and when i tell you alot were messed up, man they were f----g messed up, no matter whoes at fault, they still put spouses in danger, its sad really, i watched it threw my whole childhood, and had to break the circle myself, housewives with children dont wake up one day and say im blowing away this guy, i dont think it was premeditated, my guess is its either self defense or he was mentally breaking her man, its sad really, they were both victims along the line, and hell its only an opinion we all got one, (next)

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swampbox May 06 2014 at 9:04 PM

I think this just goes to show , Little Ole lady , little Ole Man , Respect your elders, trust and help , you never know some ones past they was young once to , some among us are not who they seem so TEACH our Children between respect and trust and to Know the different . Its a crazy world out there

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kmcc895370 May 06 2014 at 9:03 PM

If found guilty just put her in a senior care home and tell her she's not allowed to leave. End of story. there are plenty of young, viscious murderous thugs out there that need to be brought to justice. Why waste all this time and energy on someone they didn't fixate on until 40 years after she committed the crime? At 75 and in a wheelchair, she's hardly a danger to society and doesn't have long to live anyway so flex your judicial muscles against some really dangerous criminals instead of old cripple women.

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3 replies
TruthBeKnown May 06 2014 at 9:02 PM

Hell I am 76, and I remember everything and capable of figuring out why things happened the way they did years and years ago.. So please people let up on the"age means you do not function well anymore." I would say it is an individual, emotional, and intellectual response to life.. But if a person is not to bright to begin with- chances are slim it will ever improve..! Very stupid to stay with anyone abusive.

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MR weaver king May 06 2014 at 8:57 PM

shes old she doesnt remember , works for the presdent and he isnt that old .

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2 replies
am0714 MR weaver king May 06 2014 at 9:03 PM

that doesn't even make sense. hate is a horrible thing. sleep well.

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geocachelinda66 MR weaver king May 06 2014 at 9:12 PM

Congrats, you get the award for dragging the President into the conversation! How appropriate!

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hanlon1212 May 06 2014 at 8:52 PM

IF she's telling the truth , she deserves a medal.

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1 reply
What's Shakin T hanlon1212 May 06 2014 at 9:55 PM

Big word---if

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barbphen60 May 06 2014 at 8:37 PM

Very fishy story and a very poorly written article. No winners here.

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trudyljack May 06 2014 at 8:31 PM

She and the present husband were having an affair. He did his dirty work before she did hers. It is too much of a coincedence that they both committed murder to not figure out that they did it to be together.

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1 reply
Pam trudyljack May 06 2014 at 10:57 PM

Trudyjack...Im With You All THeWay.

! It appears that " GOOD OLE ALICE ". must be a NASTY CHEATING WIFE.AND MURDERER for at least the last 40 years. .NOTICE IN THE POORLY WRITTEN ARTICLE: ALICE had been married on 4 Times to 4 Different Men....However there is NO MENTION of Husband #1's NAME and IF he was the FATHER of all 4 of her children..

The article mentions the name of Husband #2.. DON PRUNTY. who died in early 1973. . BUT there is ABSOLUTELY NO COMMENT of how Husband #2 DON PRUNDY died " Yet the article clearlly states " that ALLICE UDEN. burried Husband #3 ( Ronald Holtz ) on the property that SHE and Husband #2 ( DON FRUNTY ) were caretakers on property referred to:: THE REMONT RANCH "
So did SHE also kill Hisband @2 Don PRUNDY and bury him at the same place of Husband #3 Ronald Holtz ?

Nor has any one informed us of HOW HUSBAND #2. DIED..


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kevinthomsonuk May 06 2014 at 8:25 PM

I personally do not believe in the line, "Who cares? It was 40 years ago." Now, me personally, I definitely consider myself a Socialist, but that's only with economic views. As far as ethical/moral views, I believe in justice and if we're all giving opinions, then I'll say that her story sounds like BS. She told her son she shot him in his sleep, THEN just so happened to marry a man who killed his ex-wife and 2 children afterwards. How would she have had the strength to dispose of a 175lb man inside of a 55-gallon barrel inside of a mine shaft well enough for police not to find, by herself? Then HE just so happens to kill his ex and her children? No, I don't believe it for one second. We can't just ignore atrocities because, "it happened so long ago." Honestly, if it were up to me, I think it's inhumane to just lock someone in a cage for the rest of their lives, I wouldn't do it to animal that killed. That's why I believe in the death penalty and he and her would qualify in my eyes

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2 replies
kevinthomsonuk kevinthomsonuk May 06 2014 at 8:28 PM


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itsnewst0me kevinthomsonuk May 06 2014 at 8:33 PM


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1 reply
kevinthomsonuk itsnewst0me May 06 2014 at 8:40 PM

Yes, I know. It's just an opinion is all. If I was actually a member of a jury hearing the case, I would definitely go through the evidence with a fine-toothed comb. I know memory starts to falter more after 75. The biggest point I was trying to make was that she married a man who murdered children after they met. I think that it's too much of a coincidence, you know? If they could prove that he really was abusing her and the child, then I would be more inclined to say let her go and live whatever life she has left, but my opinion was that she's guilty of cold-blooded murder. I mean, why would you tell your son that you killed their step-father while he slept? Like you're proud of it or something? You know?

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