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Alice Louise UDEN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Ronald Holtz was shot in the back of the head while sleeping
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: Late 1974 or early 1975
Date of arrest: September 29, 2013 (38 years later)
Date of birth: 1939
Victim profile: Her third husband, Ronald Holtz, 25
Method of murder: Shooting (.22 caliber rifle)
Location: Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on August 26, 2014
photo gallery

Alice Uden, 75, Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing Husband 40 Years Ago

By Associated Press

August 26, 2014

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 and 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. She 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."

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

'A Cold, Calculated Murder'

Uden killed Holtz in late 1974 or early 1975 in Cheyenne, where he was living with her and her 2-year-old daughter. Uden testified that she shot him with a rifle after he flew into a rage over the girl's crying and was inches away from attacking her in 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 ½ years," Homar said.

Married Killers

Police arrested Uden and her fourth and current husband, Gerald Uden, 72, both of Chadwick, Missouri, last fall in southwest Missouri, accusing them of killing former spouses in separate attacks.

Gerald Uden has pleaded guilty to killing his ex-wife and her two sons in central Wyoming in 1980. Prosecutors have not drawn any link between the two cases.

At her trial, Alice Uden testified that she removed Christmas decorations from a large cardboard barrel and put Holtz's body inside. She wrestled the barrel into her trunk, she said, and dumped the barrel in an abandoned gold mine on a ranch between Cheyenne and Laramie.

One of Uden's sons, Todd Scott, testified at the trial that 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 a less-serious charge of 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 the psychiatric history of Holtz, who 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.

A Family Vanishes

Prosecutors in the case against Gerald Uden said 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 that 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 deep lake for the bodies and say they plan a more comprehensive search soon, reports The Daily Ranger.

Jurors at Alice Uden's trial were prohibited from hearing about Gerald Uden's case.


Alice Uden Convicted of Murdering Husband Four Decades Ago

By Howard Breuer -

May 8, 2014

Alice Uden was convicted of second-degree murder Thursday in Wyoming, setting up the 75-year-old grandmother to spend the rest of her life in prison for killing her third husband four decades ago.

The jury reached its verdict without hearing testimony that Uden's current husband, Gerald Uden, confessed last year to murdering his ex-wife and their two young boys in 1980, also with a .22-caliber rifle.

During the weeklong trial, Uden, who is frail and uses a wheelchair, spent two days on the stand testifying that she shot Ronald Holtz, a 25-year-old Vietnam veteran, to defend her 2-year-old daughter Erica when Holtz angrily charged at her and threatened to kill her.

But that claim was contradicted by two of Uden's five grown children, who testified for the prosecution that their mother told them in the late '70s that she killed Holtz in his sleep.

"She just, out of the blue, told me how she got up one night, got a .22, and shot Ron in the head," her son Todd Scott, now 53, told the Cheyenne jury last week. "I don't know why a mother would tell her children she killed somebody."

The jury deliberated for about a day and a half before delivering the verdict against Uden, who now had been living in Chadwick, Missouri.


Alice Uden Trial: Her Children Say She Confessed to Killing Her Ex-Husband in His Sleep

By Howard Breuer -

May 7, 2014

For decades, Todd Scott says, he was haunted by a terrible secret. His mother, Alice Uden, told him that back in the 1970s she killed her third husband, 25-year-old Ronald Holtz, as he slept.

"She just, out of the blue, told me how she got up one night, got a .22, and shot Ron in the head," Scott, now 53, tearfully told a Wyoming jury last week, adding, "I don't know why a mother would tell her children she killed somebody."

After his testimony, Scott turned to Uden, now 75 and wheelchair-bound, and said, "I hate you," reports West Texas CBS affiliate KOSA.

Although Scott claimed that through the years he had told everyone – from police to his employers – about the confession, the murder charge was only filed late last year when Holtz's remains were found.

The discovery happened at the same time another shocking family secret was coming to light: Uden's fourth and current husband, Gerald, 71, a truck driver, confessed to killing his ex-wife and their two boys in Wyoming in 1980. On Nov. 1, Gerald Uden was sentenced to life in prison.

In a PEOPLE exclusive earlier this year, Erica Hayes, 41, and the youngest of Alice Uden's five children, recalled how her stepfather met her at a truck stop near their home in Chadwick, Missouri, and confessed to the triple murder. Uden's defense attorney asked the judge not to allow jurors to hear anything about Gerald Uden's case.

A Violent Man, Claimed Uden

The jurors did hear from Alice Uden's older daughter, Theresa Twyford, 55, who supported the prosecutors' argument that Uden shot Holtz in his sleep, and not during a fight, as her lawyers claim. But Twyford also testified that her mother told her Holtz was a violent man who once beat and kicked her on the side of the road.

Frail and emotional, Uden took the witness stand on Monday and Tuesday, telling jurors she killed Holtz because she was "scared" and needed to protect her young daughter. Deliberations began Wednesday.

According to Uden, Holtz was a Vietnam veteran who was honorably discharged in 1970 for numerous psychiatric problems, including threats of suicide. One day, when Erica, then 2, began to cry, Holtz, who had been working as a taxi driver, flew in a rage, charging at the toddler and shouting, 'I'm going to kill her,' " Uden testified.

"I tried to stop him and he knocked me down and ran into her bedroom," she said. "I was by the mop closet and I had a gun in there and I grabbed it and followed right behind him and shot him in the back of the head."

Holtz fell over the crib railing, she testified, and slid down to the floor. Uden says she brought Erica to stay with Holtz's parents in Commerce City, Colorado, then returned and disposed of the body.

The slaying occurred sometime between Christmas Eve 1974 and Feb. 5, 1975, according to authorities. Nearly six years later, on Sept. 12, 1980, Gerald Uden killed Virginia Uden, 32, and sons Richard, 11, and Reagan, 10.

Investigators have not linked the two cases, but all four victims were initially dumped in mines. Investigators dug up Holtz's remains last summer in an abandoned mine on the Remount Ranch, a small cattle outfit between Cheyenne and Laramie, where Alice Uden had once been a caretaker.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Uden could spend the rest of her life in prison.


Uden takes Witness Stand for Own Trial

By Kyle Markley -

May 06, 2014

Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - Day three of testimony in the trial of alleged murderer Alice Uden featured testimony from Uden herself.

The prosecution continued to paint a picture of a premeditated murder as they called their final witnesses to prove Ronald Holtz was shot in the back of the head while sleeping.

"The direction of travel is definitely back to front. There are some fractures in the left orbit of the skull that support that's where the bullet went as well so back to front probably right to left," said Dr. James Wilkerson.

Using the actual skull with the top sawed off, forensic pathologist, Dr. James Wilkerson showed with a trajectory rod that it was consistent with someone who's laying down.

But as defense cross-examined, Dr. Wilkerson also said the trajectory could be consistent with someone sitting down in a chair or bending over while standing. Alice Uden claims Ronald Holtz was bending over her daughter's crib to harm her when Uden shot Holtz.

In the afternoon, the defense called their first witness, the defendant, Alice Uden who nearly broke down short after questioning began.

Ron Holtz had been honorably discharged in 1970 from the military for numerous psychiatric problems, including hypertension and threats of suicide.

Uden gave accounts of abusive behavior against her, then one day, Holtz came home from work, laid down to rest and her 2-year-old daughter began to cry.

"He was very angry and was moving pretty rapidly. He said 'I'm going to kill her'," Uden said.

Uden said she then grabbed her .22 caliber rifle and intended to kill Ron Holtz to protect her daughter.

"I tried to stop him and he knocked me down and ran into her bedroom. I was by the mop closet and I had a gun in there and I grabbed it and followed right behind him and shot him in the back of the head," Uden said.

Prosecution will continue their cross-examination of Uden on Tuesday.


Uden testifies in murder trial

By Cat Smith -

May 5, 2014

CHEYENNE - Alice Uden said once she picked up a gun the day she killed her husband, she was committed to taking his life.

Uden, 75, took the witness stand Monday, telling jurors she killed Ronald Holtz nearly 40 years ago to protect her 19-month-old daughter, Erica.

But first, jurors watched a video interview conducted last September by Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation special agents Tina Trimble and Loy Young.

In the interview, Uden at first denied knowing Holtz. But then she changed her story after Trimble told Uden they had recovered his body from an abandoned mine shaft on the Remount Ranch between Cheyenne and Laramie.

Uden gave the agents her version of the events leading to his death. Uden said Holtz came home from driving his taxi, Erica began crying, Uden and Holtz got into a disagreement, and he ran toward Erica’s room. Uden said she retrieved a .22-caliber rifle from behind the door of the bedroom closet, took the rifle and shot him in the head.

Uden then said she took her young daughter to Holtz’s parents’ house in Commerce City, Colorado, while she returned to dispose of his body.

But during her testimony Monday, Uden’s story changed again.

When asked to describe the day Holtz died, Uden said he was sleeping in the bedroom when he woke up and heard Erica crying.

Holtz became angry whenever the child was constantly crying, Uden said.

“He stormed out of the bedroom and down the hall to Erica’s room. I put my arms out to stop him, and that is when he hit me and pushed me to the ground,” Uden testified Monday.

“I got up, grabbed the rifle from the mop closet and went towards Erica’s room. He already entered her room and was sort of bent over her crib with his arms outstretched. I came around the corner and saw him reaching for her,” Uden said calmly.

“What happened next?” Donald Miller, Uden’s attorney, asked.

“I shot him,” she said.

“Can you explain what you felt?”

“Fear I was scared. Scared he wasn’t dead and he would turn on me, beat me up or kill Erica,” Uden said.

“So you were committed the moment you touched the gun?,” Miller asked.

“Yes,” Uden replied.

She added that Holtz fell over the crib railing after being shot in the head, and slid down to the floor, where he stayed until she returned from Colorado.

When asked if there was blood on the mattress, Uden said yes.

The prosecution stated earlier Monday during DCI agent Trimble’s testimony that Uden mentioned during the taped interview there was a pool of blood on the mattress, indicating she had killed Holtz while he was in bed sleeping.

During Uden’s testimony, she referred to the mattress in question as belonging to the baby.

In a recorded jailhouse call with her daughter, Uden admitted to having a bloody mattress and disposing of it in an Illinois landfill with the help of her mother.

Earlier in the day, expert testimony revealed Holtz had a history of mental instability, and he had been diagnosed as having sociopathic tendencies.

In addition, Holtz reportedly had several violent outbursts at two different VA medical centers.

Jurors also heard from Dr. James Wilkerson, a forensic pathologist from Loveland, Colorado, who said he was “more than 51 percent sure” that Holtz was shot while lying down. He demonstrated the angle of the shot while holding Holtz’s skull.

Uden will resume her testimony at 9 a.m. today.

The case is expected to go to the jury sometime in the next two days.

If convicted of the first-degree murder charge, Uden faces life in prison.


Jury selection begins in Uden murder case

Alice Uden is accused of killing her husband in the 1970s.

By Cat Smith -

April 29, 2014

CHEYENNE - Jury selection began Tuesday morning in the murder trial of a Missouri woman who allegedly shot her newlywed husband to death 40 years ago while he slept.

Some 70 potential jurors filled Laramie County District Judge Steven Sharpe’s courtroom to begin the process of hearing the Uden case.

Alice Uden, 75, looking pale and weak, attended the court proceedings in a wheelchair.

Sharpe spent about 15 minutes going over rules and statutes that jurors must obey if they are chosen.

“You must not discuss the case with anyone, form or express any opinions on the trial until the case has been formally submitted to you for deliberation,” Sharpe explained.

“You are not allowed to speak with any of the parties, view any news coverage or conduct online searches of this case.”

The first 32 potential jurors underwent one-on-one questioning in Sharpe’s chambers with prosecution and defense attorneys in an attempt to ferret out objective, unbiased people.

Those who hadn’t been interviewed were excused around 10 a.m. and ordered to return in the afternoon for additional jury selection proceedings.

Further delays in questioning caused the jury selection process to halt until this morning at 10 a.m.

“The process was unknown. Some questions were faster, while some were longer,” the judge said. “We greatly appreciate your patience as we begin this collective examination of jurors.”

If convicted, Alice Uden faces a life sentence in prison.

Court documents show:

In September 1980, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office started investigating the disappearance of Gerald Uden’s ex-wife, Virginia, and her two sons, Richard, 12, and Reagan, 10. During the investigation, information about another disappearance in Laramie County was discovered.

A Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation special agent knew that Alice Uden had married Ronald Holtz on Sept. 17, 1974. After less than five months of marriage, Uden filed for divorce.

The divorce was granted after records from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs showed Holtz had been released on a work-study program on Dec. 24, 1974. Following that Christmas, Holtz’s family never heard from him again.

In 1989, police interviewed a witness who said Alice Uden confessed to killing Holtz back in 1975 or 1976. Alice Uden told the witness that she shot Holtz in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle while he slept.

She allegedly then wrapped Holtz in blankets and put his body in a cardboard barrel before disposing of it down an old mine shaft at the Remount Ranch located between Cheyenne and Laramie at 198 County Road 206.

Investigations continued from 2005 to her arrest last year by DCI agents in Missouri along with Gerald Uden.

During that time, investigators discovered Holtz’s remains 40 feet down the Remount Ranch mine shaft. A .22-caliber bullet was found inside his skull.

Gerald Uden pleaded guilty last year for his part in his ex-wife and adopted son’s murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Defense attorneys, who have said they plan to present evidence that Alice Uden acted in self-defense, are looking for people who have not been prejudiced by Gerald Uden’s plea.


Pictured: The married couple in their 70s arrested for brutal killing of HER husband and HIS wife and children

  • Gerald Uden, 71, and Alice Uden, 74, were both arrested at their home in Missouri and charged with murder

  • Authorities believe Mrs Uden killed her husband Ronald Holtz in 1974 in Wyoming and hid his body in a mine

  • Mr Uden is accused of killing wife Virginia Uden and her sons in 1980

By Michael Zennie -

October 1, 2013

An elderly husband and wife have been charged with murdering their spouses and two children and hiding the bodies more than 30 years ago - and then marrying each other and moving 1,100 miles away.

Officials said Monday that 71-year-old Gerald Uden and 74-year-old Alice Louise Uden, who live in Chadwick, Missouri, face first-degree-murder charges in Wyoming - where their spouses disappeared.

The arrests indicate that investigators believe they have solved four decades-old murders in Wyoming - including the haunting disappearance of Gerald Uden's wife and his two adopted children in 1980.

The crack in the case came when authorities recently found the body of Alice Louise Uden's ex-husband, Ronald Holtz, in an abandoned Wyoming mine.

Holtz, 25, was last seen in December 1974 in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Six years later, in September 1980, the wife of Gerald Uden disappeared from Lander, Wyoming, along with her two sons, age 10 and 12.

Uden had adopted the two boys but was not the biological father, according to, a website devoted to missing persons cases.

Virginia Uden and boys Reagan and Richard were last seen at Virginia's mother's house. They had left after a visited and were meeting Gerald to go hunting.

A few days later, Virginia's car was found vandalized and soaking with blood. It had been covered in pine boughs in an attempts to hide it.

Gerald and Alice Uden are in custody in Missouri while Wyoming authorities attempt to extradite them.

Authorities in Wyoming were not available on Monday to discuss the case.

It is unknown how Holtz's body was found, nor how the discovery of his body led investigators to Alice Uden.

It is also unclear what linked Holtz's death to the disappearance of Virginia Uden and her sons six years later.


Remains point to local murder

By Kelsey Bray -

September 30, 2013

CHEYENNE -- A Missouri couple has been arrested in connection with two decades-old Wyoming cold cases.

Alice L. Uden, 74, of Chadwick, Mo., was arrested Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder, which was filed by the Laramie County District Attorney's Office.

She allegedly shot her ex-husband, Ronald Holtz, who was 25 at the time of his death, in the back of the head while he was sleeping. Holtz was last seen in December 1974 in Sheridan.

On Aug. 27, Holtz’s skeletal remains were found in an abandoned mine shaft at the Remount Ranch, which is located between Cheyenne and Laramie at 198 County Road 206.

Alice Uden’s husband, Gerald Uden, 71, of Chadwick was arrested Friday on three counts of first-degree murder filed by the Fremont County Attorney’s Office in Lander.

He allegedly shot and killed his ex-wife, Virginia Uden, who was 32, and her two sons, Richard, 12; and Reagan, 10. The three disappeared in September 1980 in the Riverton area.

Information about the arrests was released Monday morning by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.

Alice and Gerald Uden are being held in a Christian County, Mo., jail until they are extradited to Wyoming.

Laramie County District Attorney Scott Homar said Monday that Alice Uden waived extradition. He wasn’t sure when she would be brought to Laramie County but said it’s just a matter of arranging transportation.

Attorneys will then work on prosecuting the case, which may be difficult.

“We always have witness problems and evidence problems we have to overcome,” Homar said. “The time makes it a little more difficult, but it’s not a case we would’ve charged unless we had evidence.”

The local case

Court documents show:

In September 1980, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office started investigating Virginia Uden and her sons’ disappearance. During the investigation, information about another disappearance in Laramie County was discovered.

A Wyoming DCI special agent knew that Alice Uden married Holtz on Sept. 17, 1974. After less than five months of marriage, she filed for divorce.

The divorce was granted, as Holtz was never located to be served with the divorce paperwork.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs records show he was released on Dec. 24, 1974, from a VA hospital in Sheridan to start a work-study program. After Christmas that year, his family never heard from him again.

In 1989, police interviewed a witness who said Alice Uden confessed in 1975 or 1976 to killing Holtz. Alice Uden told the witness that she shot Holtz in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle while he was sleeping.

She then wrapped Holtz in some blankets and put his body in a cardboard barrel. She told the witness she dumped the barrel into an old mine shaft at the ranch.

On Jan. 18, 2005, DCI agents interviewed Alice Uden in Missouri. She provided information on her children and all her marriages but didn’t mention her marriage to Holtz.

The next day, she was interviewed again and asked about not mentioning the marriage.

As soon as his name was mentioned, Alice Uden fell back against the wall and said, “My kids told you.”

She said she hadn’t mentioned Holtz because the marriage was so short she didn’t consider it a real one.

On Nov. 1, 2007, a witness met an agent at the Remount Ranch and showed the agent the abandoned gold mine he believed Alice Uden was referring to when she confessed. The agent photographed the site and obtained GPS coordinates.

On Aug. 27 of this year, the mine shaft was excavated. Human remains were found about 40 feet down and were later identified as Holtz.

A .22-caliber bullet was found inside his skull.

In Fremont County

Court documents show:

On July 23, 1974, Gerald Uden married Virginia Uden. She had two sons prior to that marriage, whom Gerald Uden adopted on March 28, 1975.

Virginia Uden and her sons were reported missing on Sept. 13, 1980, at the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.

Last Friday, a special agent interviewed Gerald Uden at his home in Chadwick.

He said back in 1980, he picked up Virginia Uden and her sons near Pavillion in Fremont County. He then transported them to a nearby canal.

All four got out of the car, and Gerald Uden shot and killed them with a .22-caliber rifle.

Uden admitted he had planned to kill them before picking them up. The plan included asking Virginia Uden to bring the rifle for bird hunting.

He then concealed the bodies.

A representative for the Fremont County Attorney’s Office declined to comment Monday on the details of the case, including when Alice and Gerald Uden met.



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