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Uden waives preliminary hearing; he'll be bound over for murder

Oct 16, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Gerald Uden has waived his preliminary hearing in Riverton Circuit Court after deciding not to dispute that prosecutors have enough evidence to prove he killed his ex-wife and her two sons 33 years ago.

The hearing had been set for Wednesday. Uden now automatically will be bound over to district court.

Uden's attorney, Sky Phifer of Lander, faxed the waiver to the Riverton Circuit Court Clerk's office Tuesday. Once Wyoming's 9th District Court in Lander receives the case, a judge there will set an arraignment for Uden.

At preliminary hearings, a circuit court judge decides if there is probable cause to think the defendant committed the crimes with which state prosecutors have charged him or her.

Typically, attorneys from both sides present evidence and make arguments about whether there is enough evidence.

Preliminary hearings are supposed to ensure prosecutors do not file excessive or malicious charges while also offering the first hint into how or whether a defendant will defend himself.

The case

Authorities arrested Uden, 71, of Chadwick, Mo., on Sept. 27 in Missouri. The Fremont County Attorney's Office filed three first-degree murder charges against him that same day.

Prosecutors allege Uden killed his ex-wife, Virginia Uden, 32, of Riverton, and her sons Reagan, 10, and Richard, 11, on Sept. 12, 1980. Local authorities long suspected Gerald Uden was involved in the disappearance of Virginia Uden and her sons 33 years ago, but they never had enough evidence to arrest him until now.

An affidavit in the case stated the defendant confessed to the crimes in front of a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation special agent on the day of his arrest. In a strange twist, authorities had arrested Gerald Uden's wife, Alice Uden, the day before for allegedly killing her ex-husband in the mid 1970s.

DCI agents in August found the body of Alice Uden's alleged victim, Ronald Holtz, 40 feet down an abandoned gold mine shaft on a ranch outside of Cheyenne.

Gerald Uden arrived at the Fremont County Detention Center on Oct. 5 after a private company transported him from Missouri. He had his initial appearance in Riverton Circuit Court on Oct. 7 where Judge Wesley Roberts advised the defendant of his rights and the charges against him.

The date of Gerald Uden's arraignment has not yet been set.

RELATED STORIES

Oct. 13: Past sheriff King spent years on Uden case

Oct. 10: Original Uden probe used psychics, past sheriff recalls

Oct. 8: Uden arrives in county; bond denied by judge

Oct. 6: With Uden case cracked, past sheriffs recall years of worry

Oct. 2: Suspects lived 'untouchable' in Missouri

Oct. 1: Uden case solved after 33 years; man arrested in Missouri

Opinion: Cold cases -- Three of them have 'warmed up' virtually at the same time

Letters: Break in the Uden case is 'nothing short of incredible'

Obituary: Claire 'Peg' C. Martin

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Fremont County
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