Evidence against Missouri woman argued as old murder case heads to trial

04/23/2014 12:38 PM

04/23/2014 12:38 PM

Prosecuting and defense attorneys were set to argue Wednesday over what evidence may be admitted during the upcoming trial of a Missouri woman accused of shooting her husband as he slept almost 40 years ago in Wyoming.

Court documents show Alice Uden, 75, plans to argue self-defense in the late 1974 or early 1975 death Ronald Holtz, 25, despite prosecution arguments that Uden shot Holtz in the head with a .22-caliber rifle while he was asleep.

Uden acted to protect not only herself but her then 2-year-old daughter, Erica Prunty, according to a statement Uden’s attorney proposes be read to prospective jurors.

Jury selection in her first-degree murder trial begins Tuesday and will likely take a day or two. A judge has set aside eight days for the trial.

Attorneys were set to argue Wednesday over admissible evidence at a hearing in Laramie County District Court in Cheyenne.

Court documents show Uden’s attorney wants to exclude information about the fact that Uden’s current husband, Gerald Uden, 71, killed his ex-wife, Virginia Uden, 32, and her two sons, Richard Uden, 11, and Reagan Uden, 10, a few miles from Gerald Uden’s home near Pavillion in central Wyoming in 1980. Gerald Uden pleaded guilty last fall to three counts of first-degree murder in that case.

Prosecutors arrested Alice and Gerald Uden in Chadwick, Mo., in September but have not linked the two murder cases. Chadwick is about 35 miles southeast of Springfield.

However, similarities between the two cases exist, as Uden’s attorney pointed out in the motion to exclude information about Gerald Uden’s case.

Both murders allegedly were committed with a .22-caliber rifle. Also, the bodies in each case allegedly were dumped in abandoned mines.

Last summer, investigators recovered Holtz’s remains from a vertical mine shaft on a ranch in the mountains between Cheyenne and Laramie. His skull had a .22-caliber bullet in it, authorities said.

Court documents suggest Uden’s attorney will argue Holtz abused her. An expert witness for the defense will be available to testify about recognized patterns of behavior in domestic violence and the “process the woman goes through before acting out.”

In pleading guilty, Gerald Uden told authorities he first put the bodies of Virginia, Richard and Reagan Uden in an abandoned mine before recovering them several weeks later and sinking them, in barrels, in Fremont Lake in western Wyoming.

Fremont Lake is a 10-mile-long finger lake and at 600 feet one of the deepest lakes in the U.S. Investigators briefly searched the lake last fall, before cold weather set in, and planned to resume the search with the arrival of springtime.

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