(Lander, Wyo.) – In a packed courtroom this afternoon, Gerald Uden, 71, pleaded guilty to the 1980 murders of Virginia Uden, Richard Uden and Reagan Uden, and will be serving a life sentence for the crimes.
In order for the court to accept his guilty pleas, Uden gave a detailed account of the events leading up to and after the murders, ultimately saying he has no excuse for why he did what he did. Virginia was 32, Richard was 12, and Reagan was 10.
Per a plea agreement the state agreed to not seek the death penalty.
“Recently, I read an article about people like Virginia,” he said. “She was described as a predator. She came to me with false pretenses.”
Uden went on to say that he married Virginia around 1974, and after she had trouble getting child support payments from her ex-husband, he said he adopted the boys, Richard and Reagan. He said six weeks after he adopted the boys, she filed for divorce. Once the divorce was settled, Uden said that Virginia wouldn’t abide by the terms of the agreement and wouldn’t let him see the children. At the same time he had begun a relationship with his current wife Alice. (Alice, in September 2013, was also arrested for the death of her former husband.)
Uden said Virginia, through her actions, was trying to force a wedge between him and Alice. “It got to where it was intolerable,” he said, later adding, “I have no excuse as to why it was intolerable.”
He said it wasn’t about the child support, that he could afford the payments, but it was her getting in between his new relationship. “Alice was giving me a hard time. Virginia was giving me a hard time.”
“I saw all of them as the wedge,” he said. “I knew if I was going to kill one of them, I was going to have to kill all of them.”
Uden recounted that one day he was visiting Richard in the Lander hospital where he was being treated for an abscess and while he was there, Virginia asked if he knew of someone that she could borrow a trailer from to move some items from another home in New Jersey.
“I told her yes, I did know some one,” he said. “And that was when I decided it would be a good time to do it.”
On or about Sept. 12, 1980, Uden said he and Virginia agreed to meet near his property east of Pavillion at a “corner.” He couldn’t recall the name of the roads. He said Virginia had brought along a .22 rifle. He said they drove north about five or six miles from the corner in her station wagon to an area where an irrigation ditch was close to the road and stopped. He said the boys wanted to shoot the gun.
“I said I wanted to test it,” Uden said. “And I tested it, and it worked just fine.”
Judge Norman E. Young asked Uden to clarify. He then described how he fired a few test shots, then shot Virginia and Richard in the backs of their heads before they could realize what was going on. He said Reagan tried to run away before he was shot. Uden said he didn’t think any of them suffered.
After he shot them, Uden said he drove the bodies in the station wagon to his pick-up truck. In his pick-up he took them to the Lewiston gold mine in the South Pass area and stashed the bodies there.
On Nov. 5, 1980, Uden said he decided that wasn’t the right place for the bodies, so he collected them, and put them in large 55- and 35-gallon drums accordingly. He then drove them out at night to Fremont Lake north of Pinedale. Using a drop line he said he found the deepest part of the lake he could (roughly 450 feet), poked holes in the barrels and “put them in the lake.”
Uden did not apologize, but said, “There is no excuse.” Young replied, “I agree.”