News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Uden agrees to plead guilty to 1980 murders
Oct 25, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
Gerald Uden intends to plead guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty, according to a plea agreement filed Thursday.
In the document, all parties agreed to three, concurrent life sentences without parole in the case of the man accused of killing three people more than 33 years ago.
A judge has not signed off on the deal, and the date for a hearing on the matter has not yet been set. Parties to the agreement, though, requested the judge impose a judgment and sentence at the time of the arraignment, which would resolve the case all at one hearing.
In the agreement -- which was signed by Uden, defense attorney Sky Phifer, and Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett -- the defendant said he also would give a "complete and truthful factual basis" establishing his guilt in all three crimes.
The former Riverton-area resident has confessed to the killings, but many details have not been revealed -- including where he disposed of the bodies of his three victims.
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.
Each charge carries a penalty of life in prison or death.
The agreement stipulates the court can assign fines and order Uden to pay restitution as well.
Prosecutors allege that 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 recently.
Gerald Uden remains in the custody of the Fremont County Detention Center, and bond has been denied.
Uden took steps previously that expedited his case and acknowledged his guilt.
First, 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.
Uden also waived his preliminary hearing in Circuit Court and, in doing so, declined an opportunity to defend himself. At such proceedings, prosecutors must convince a judge they have enough evidence to establish probable cause that the defendant committed the crimes with which he is charged.
Defense attorneys in turn argue for lower charges or that some counts be dropped. The judge can decide what charges will continue to District Court.
Authorities had arrested Gerald Uden's wife, Alice Uden, the day before for allegedly killing her ex-husband in the mid-1970s near Cheyenne. She is charged with one count of first-degree murder.
Coincidentally, Alice Uden arrived at the Laramie County Detention Center on Wednesday and had an initial appearance the next day. A judge advised her of the charges against her, set her bond at $250,000 cash, and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Oct. 31.