Triple Murderer Who Killed Ex-Wife, Two Sons During 'Hunting' Trip To Stay In Prison

Gerald Uden, who killed his ex-wife and two adopted sons in 1980 when he convinced them to go bird hunting, says that his 2013 confession to the three murders was coerced, a claim the Wyoming Supreme Court has rejected for the second time.

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Clair McFarland

August 02, 20234 min read

Gerald uden mug

The Wyoming Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed triple-murderer Gerald Uden’s most recent attempt to get out of prison.  

Uden petitioned the high court July 24 to let him withdraw his three guilty pleas to first-degree murder, claiming he shouldn’t be in prison for killing his ex-wife Virginia Uden and two adopted sons Richard and Reagan 43 years ago because he falsely confessed to killing them.  

Excited Boys 

Uden killed Virginia and the boys at a rural Pavillion crossroads when the boys were 12 and 10 years old, after numerous disputes with Virginia. He had invited the three to hunt birds with him on Sept. 12, 1980, knowing the boys were excited to use their mother’s heirloom .22 rifle.  

Gerald Uden later told Virginia’s mother, then Fremont County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Larry Mathews, and the Riverton Police Department that his three victims “never showed up” to shoot birds with him.  

But when he confessed to the murders in court in 2013, he said that, “Richard was standing beside the tailgate of the station wagon, and I shot him behind the ear. That took approximately 10 seconds. Reagan saw what was happening, and he ran, and he tripped and he fell in the ditch.”  

He shot 10-year-old Reagan behind the ear as well, Uden added.  

Sorry, You’re Late 

Uden’s appeal is beyond the scope of the law because he appealed too late and because there’s no law making an exception for his situation, Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice Kate Fox ruled Wednesday in an order dismissing his appeal.  

“Once a criminal case becomes final pursuant to the general rule, a trial court loses the power to act in that case unless it is expressly permitted to do so by statute or court rule,” reads Fox's order, quoting from a 2002 Wyoming case.  

Wyoming does have a law letting people challenge their convictions after the appeal deadline, but they have to show proof of their innocence.  

Even If I Could Listen To You 

Fox agreed with a June order by Fremont County District Court Judge Jason Conder, dismissing two of Uden's petitions to have his conviction thrown out.   

Not only did Uden have no mechanism to get back in court, but even if he had, his argument was meritless, Conder wrote in his June 19 dismissal order.  

Uden had argued that when Wyoming and FBI agents confronted him in his Missouri home in 2013, with the discovery that his wife Alice Uden had killed her previous husband Ron Holtz, he confessed to killing Virginia, Richard and Regan Uden so that police wouldn’t accuse Alice of killing them.  

Uden claimed that this was tantamount to giving a confession under coercion.  

These arguments were “simply meritless,” Conder wrote. 

“Even if (I) had jurisdiction to address these motions on the merits, there are no grounds to grant (Uden’s) motion,” wrote the judge, adding that Uden has already appealed these issues and been denied by both Conder and the Wyoming Supreme Court.  

Wife Also A Murderer 

Uden became more adamant about his claims of innocence after his wife Alice died June 12, 2019.  

Alice Uden murdered her third husband Ron Holtz in 1974 or 1975, before she met Uden.  

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation found Holtz’s body in 2013, in a Cheyenne-area mineshaft with a bullet hole in its skull.  

Alice Uden was sentenced in 2014 for second-degree murder.  

When she died of chronic health issues in 2019, Uden wrote a letter to true-crime author Ron Franscell – who had written a book detailing Uden’s crimes – blaming Alice for the murders and saying he was now free to prove his innocence.  

No Bodies 

Law enforcement personnel have never found Virginia, Richard, and Reagan’s bodies.  

Uden at first told police he dumped them in the Pacific Ocean. Then he told them the bodies were in 600-foot-deep Fremont Lake. Uden even joined an excursion, under police custody, to Fremont Lake to try to find the bodies before he went to prison.  

Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter