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Woman, 75, gets life term for killing husband


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A judge in Wyoming sentenced a 75-year-old Missouri woman to life in prison on Monday for killing her husband with a rifle in the mid-1970s then throwing his body down the shaft of an abandoned gold mine where it remained for nearly 40 years.

Defendant Alice Uden wore wire glasses, a court-supplied hearing aid and a blue suit, and sat quietly in her wheelchair before speaking at the hearing.

Uden sobbed gently as she addressed the court about the death of her third husband, Ronald Holtz, then 25.

"I've tried to atone for it," Uden said. "I wish that I never would have met him so that none of this ever would have happened. He was a very frightening man."

In May, jurors in Cheyenne didn't buy Uden's argument that she shot Holtz in the head to defend her toddler daughter from him. They found her guilty of second-degree murder.

The shooting happened at the couple's home in Cheyenne in late 1974 or early 1975. Uden testified she shot Holtz with a rifle next to the girl's bed.

Laramie County District Court Judge Steven Sharpe said he considered possible mitigating factors, including Uden's lack of prior criminal history.

"This was very much a cold, calculated murder," Sharpe said. "The jury heard all of the evidence that was before the court and the jury rejected the defense that it was self-defense."

District Attorney Scott Homar argued the killing was a thoughtful, deliberate act that rid Uden of Holtz.

"Her way out was to take Mr. Holtz's life while he was sleeping and then dispose of it in a way that it wouldn't be found for 39 1/2 years," Homar said.

Uden said she put Holtz's body in a cardboard barrel, wrestled the barrel into her trunk and dumped the barrel in an abandoned gold mine on a ranch between Cheyenne and Laramie.

One of Uden's sons, Todd Scott, testified his mother told him decades ago that she had shot Holtz while he was asleep.

After previous, unsuccessful attempts to find Holtz's remains in the mine filled with the carcasses of cattle and other ranch animals, investigators last summer dug deeper in the vertical shaft and finally excavated Holtz's remains.

The jury declined to find Uden guilty of premeditated, first-degree murder, which would have carried a mandatory life sentence. The jury also declined to convict her of the least-serious charge, manslaughter.

Uden's attorney, Donald Miller, urged the judge to sentence Uden to probation because the now-grown daughter, Erica Prunty, has cancer and has been given six months to live.

He also highlighted Holtz's psychiatric history. He met Uden, a former nurse, while she was working in the psychiatric unit at a Veterans Administration hospital in Sheridan.

"His behavior was unpredictable. He was irritable, he was hostile, he was explosive. He had no incentive to change," Miller told the courtroom.

Already serving life in prison is Uden's fourth and current husband, Gerald Uden, 72, who pleaded guilty in November to three counts of first-degree murder for shooting his ex-wife and her two children in central Wyoming in 1980.

Authorities arrested the couple in southwest Missouri last fall. Prosecutors haven't drawn any link between the two cases.

The bodies of 32-year-old Virginia Uden, and her two sons, 11-year-old Richard Uden and 10-year-old Reagan Uden, have yet to be found. Gerald Uden told a Fremont County courtroom in November he shot each of them with a rifle not far from his home, one after the other, and dumped their bodies in an abandoned mine.

Months later, he said, he retrieved the bodies and sank them in Fremont Lake in western Wyoming. Investigators briefly searched the lake for the bodies last fall.

Grandmother Sentenced To Life For Killing Husband 40 Years Ago

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Aldito BS/BM August 25 2014 at 6:08 PM

I think that they should just sentence her to watch the Oprah Winfrey Channel "OWN" for the rest of her life, that should be punishment enough for anyone.

Flag Reply +32 rate up
10 replies
lacustomsales August 25 2014 at 6:44 PM

So She killed her husband with a rifle in the 70's and her new husband killed his wife and 2 kids in the 80's. Where did they meet ? at murderers anonymous?

Flag Reply +30 rate up
6 replies
denchantress2000 August 25 2014 at 7:10 PM


Flag Reply +26 rate up
6 replies
missis39 August 25 2014 at 6:32 PM

shes better off going to prison she has 3 meals a day , medical care if needed, and someone watching her all the time that's way better than the nursing homes we have where our family members usually only live a year or less and they get treated way worse.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
7 replies
hangr54 August 25 2014 at 6:40 PM

Think I'll go out and riot

Flag Reply +18 rate up
4 replies
henryusmale August 25 2014 at 6:58 PM

Mental abuse is still abuse.
It leaves no visible marks, but it is very destructive.
hen I was a teen I had a friend that had the meanish father I ever seen.
He treated his wife like a servant and she would shake when he hollared at her.
I always felt so sorry for her.
His dad finally died , and then he took up where his father left off, bossing that poor woman around.
The only life she has ever known.

If she were to kill him I couldn't blame her at all
It was terrible.

Flag Reply +15 rate up
6 replies
vietnamvet1967 August 25 2014 at 6:14 PM

She DID NOT get a LIFE Sentence
She got a Death Sentence, of which she will die in Prison

Flag Reply +14 rate up
6 replies
kerryeveretts August 25 2014 at 7:47 PM

I believe she could have been living with an abusive husband and in that time cops didn't do much about that kind of thing for women!!! He looks mean!!

Flag Reply +13 rate up
6 replies
buddwhyzr August 25 2014 at 6:43 PM

All these commenters missed the fact her current husband is already in jail for killing his previous wife & kids?

Flag Reply +13 rate up
4 replies
shevon August 25 2014 at 10:30 PM

Life is too easy, now we get to take care of her in her old age. They should have cancelled her Social Security and move her to the mountains to live the rest of her sorry life out there.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
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