Defendant Gerald Uden looked in the direction of Fremont County and Prosecuting Attorney Michael Bennett at Monday’s court hearing. (Ernie Over photo)
(Riverton, Wyo.) – A man accused of a triple murder 33 years ago had his initial appearance in Fremont County’s Ninth District Circuit Court late Monday afternoon. Gerald Uden, 71, was ordered held without bond in the killing of his wife and her two children. A preliminary hearing was ordered for Wednesday, September 16th at 9 a.m. He is charged with three counts of First Degree Murder.
Sitting alone at the defendant’s table in the courtroom, Uden showed no emotion when Circuit Court Judge Wesley A. Roberts read aloud the three murder charges, alleging that just over 33 years ago, on Sept. 12, 1980, Uden did murder his wife Virginia, 32, and her two children Richard, 12, and Reagan, 10, and disposed of the bodies, which to date have not been found.
Uden was arrested in Chadwick, Missouri Sept. 27th following a cold case investigation by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Fremont and Albany County Sheriff’s Departments. Also arrested last week was Uden’s current wife, Alice, 74, who is charged separately with the killing of her husband in Albany County. The couple had been living in Chadwick. According to court documents, the two were long-haul truckers and rarely spent time at home. Details of the couples arrest can be found here.
At Monday’s hearing when Roberts asked Uden if he had resources to hire his own attorney, the defendant answered “I wouldn’t have the resources any way…” At that point, Judge Roberts advised him not to divulge any more information until he was represented by a lawyer. Uden didn’t stop talking and then told the judge that “I had given my youngest step daughter the power of attorney, my property is all under her control and I directed her not to use anything from my 106 acre farm on my defense.”
Roberts cut the defendant off and told Uden that he had just disclosed in open court that he did have resources. “You disclosed that asset,” the Judge said. Roberts further said that if he, Uden, had the ability to issue a Power of Attorney, that he also “had the authority” to use that asset “if it was available.”
Uden further said, “I was really hoping I wouldn’t… but it sounds like…” He stopped and then didn’t say anything more. Roberts reminded Uden that “A public defender is for people who are indigent, if you have resources you cannot have a public defender, and you have said you have resources.”
In the bond portion of the hearing, Fremont County and Prosecuting Attorney Michael Bennett said the murders “were planned and they were kicked off over a ruse over going bird hunting and that in the defendant’s own words, he got them (the victims) to bring along the murder weapon.” Bennett said all the facts in the case indicated the evidence was “great” and the the state “had met the burden to deny bail.”
In deciding that Uden should be held without bail, under rule 46.1a of the rules for a Capital case in which the punishment was life imprisonment or death, Roberts said “there was proof evident” to support the allegations in the affidavit. “I conclude it is appropriate that no bond be set.”
In an earlier interview Monday with County10.com lead reporter Joshua Scheer, Bennett said that he found out the details of the Wyoming DCI’s case against Uden on the day of Uden’s arrest while on a shopping trip. He said he had previously been briefed on the cold case investigation. Once he got word of the details, Bennett said he and Deputy County Attorney Pat LeBrun began drawing up the charges.
Emphasizing that Uden is innocent until proven guilty, he said information provided by DCI led them to believe the three first degree murder charges were appropriate.
-County10.com’s Joshua Scheer contributed to this post.