A Wyoming jury convicted a 75-year-old woman of second-degree murder on Thursday in the shooting death of her husband that occurred 40 years ago.
The Associated Press reports Alice Uden now faces 20 years to life in prison for killing Ronald Holtz in 1974.
Uden claimed she shot Holtz in the back of the head because she feared he would harm the couple’s 2-year-old baby during an argument. Prosecutors argued she killed the man while he slept because a “fling she had started was no longer a good time for her.” They had asked the jury to consider a first-degree murder conviction.
According to juror Samantha Wallace, at one point as many as 11 jurors favored the first-degree conviction. One holdout argued that Uden was guilty of no more than manslaughter. Wallace said the jury compromised on second-degree murder to avoid a mistrial.
"We are pleased with the verdict," Laramie County District Attorney Scott Homar said. "The jury made it clear that they believe she at least purposely and maliciously killed the victim."
The murder case was reopened last summer when Wyoming investigators recovered Holtz’s remains from an abandoned mine. The discovery prompted police to arrest Uden in September and bring her back to Wyoming from Missouri where she was living with her current husband, Gerald Uden, 71.
Gerald Uden was subsequently charged with 1980 murder of his ex-wife, Virginia, and his two sons.
Jurors in Alice Uden’s trial, though, were not aware of the charges against him and he was not mentioned during the court proceedings.
Wallace said it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.
"I don't think that would have persuaded us. But we kind of thought, 'Where is her (current) husband? Who is her husband?'" she said.
Gerald Uden pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in November. He offered no reason other than Virginia had grown “intolerable” and she threatened to break up his marriage to Alice. According to People magazine, he said the decision to kill Virginia meant he would also have to kill his own children.
"I knew that if I killed one, I was going to kill all of them," he explained. "I have no excuse."
Sentencing for Alice Uden will be scheduled at a later date. Her attorney, Donald Miller, said he plans to appeal the verdict.