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Missouri woman, 74, pleads not guilty in 1970s Wyoming slaying

Updated: 2013-11-15T03:33:33Z

The Associated Press

— A southwest MIssouri woman accused of killing her husband in Wyoming in the mid-1970s pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree murder and remained jailed on $250,000 bond, despite her attorney’s attempt to get her home and closer to her doctors.

Alice Uden, 74, is accused of shooting Ron Holtz, 25, in the head as he slept in late 1974 or early 1975. She allegedly put his body in a barrel and dumped the barrel in an abandoned gold mine on a ranch where she used to be caretaker.

Her current husband, Gerald Uden, recently pleaded guilty to killing his ex-wife and her two sons in central Wyoming in 1980. Authorities arrested the Udens, of Chadwick, Mo., in September.

Gerald Uden, 71, pleaded guilty Nov. 1 in Wyoming and was sentenced to life in prison.

Gerald Uden admitted in court that he shot Virginia Uden, 32, and her two sons, Richard Uden, 11, and Reagan Uden, 10, in September, 1980. He’d married Virginia Uden in 1974. He adopted the boys in 1975 but Virginia and Gerald Uden divorced in 1976.

Gerald was paying Virginia Uden $150 a month in child support. In 1980, the divorcees were at odds in court over one of the payments, court records show.

Gerald said in court he wasn’t unable to pay child support. Virginia had become “intolerable,” he said, and was using the boys to drive a wedge into his relationship with Alice.

The arrest of Gerald and Alice Uden, for separate murders so many years ago, stunned their neighbors in Chadwick, where the couple had been living quietly for years.

On Thursday, Alice Uden sat in a wheelchair and gave simple, “yes, sir,” and “no, sir,” responses to Laramie County District Judge Steven Sharpe, who set a jury trial for Feb. 3.

Uden’s hair was short and gray. She wore glasses and held tissues in her lap. Her public defender, Donald Miller, told Sharpe that Uden was tearing up not out of sadness but because of a blocked tear duct due to cataract surgery. Uden also suffers from diabetes and has had cancer, Miller said.

“Her doctors aren’t here. And she needs medical care,” Miller said. “I don’t know exactly what, other than the seriousness of the charge, that is keeping her here.”

He said Uden has had no major run-ins with the law – just a couple traffic tickets – and hasn’t attempted to flee or even change addresses despite being questioned by investigators about her husband’s disappearance since 2000.

“She’s as much of a flight risk as a bumble bee in fall,” Miller said.

He said Uden implicated herself in a statement to police, “but we’ve got a good defense.”

District Attorney Scott Homar said Uden had years to come forward about the crime. He said she didn’t do so until investigators confronted her.

In August, they dug up Holtz’s remains 40 feet down a vertical, abandoned gold mine on the Remount Ranch between Cheyenne and Laramie. Investigators found a .22-caliber bullet in his skull, according to an affidavit.

Uden allegedly once told a police informant she’d shot Holtz in the head with a .22-caliber rifle as he slept.

Homar suggested that Uden might be a threat to herself or others if she returned to Missouri after being allowed to post a lower bond.

“I don’t know that she’s got a lot left to live for, to be honest with you,” he told Sharpe.

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