CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The daughter of a Missouri woman sentenced for killing her husband in Wyoming almost 40 years ago said Wednesday that she stands by her mother as she prepares to spend the rest of her life in a remote prison.
The daughter of the victim was not so kind.
"I believe you are a very disturbed individual yourself," Sharon Brock wrote about defendant Alice Uden in a letter to the court before the sentencing on Monday. "You do not deserve to be alive in my eyes."
Brock said Uden prevented her from ever meeting her father and until recently knowing what became of him.
Soon after the letter was read in a Cheyenne courtroom, a judge gave Uden life in prison, the maximum sentence for her second-degree murder conviction.
Uden, 75, of Chadwick, Mo., will do her time at the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk, population, 1,600, located in the least-populous county in the nation's most sparsely populated state.
In May, a jury rejected Uden's claim that she shot Ronald Holtz, then 25, with a rifle to protect her daughter, Erica Prunty, after Holtz became enraged by the crying of the 2-year-old. They found her guilty after prosecutors said she shot Holtz while he slept.
Uden's attorneys drew from Holtz's psychiatric records and described him as psychologically unstable and abusive toward Uden and her daughter. The now-42-year-old Erica Hayes of St. Louis maintains that Uden saved her by shooting Holtz in her mother's trailer home in late 1974 or early 1975.
Police at the time were little help to her abused mother, Hayes said in a statement emailed Wednesday to The Associated Press.
"She was ready and willing to protect her baby at any cost," Hayes wrote. "She is being punished for a crime she never should have been forced to commit."
Prosecutors said Uden put the body of Holtz in a cardboard barrel and dumped it in an abandoned mine shaft on a southeast Wyoming ranch.
"JUSTICE has been and will be done. Know you are not forgiven for your sins," Brock wrote in her letter to the court.
Hayes' half-brother, Todd Scott, testified at his mother's trial that she once told him she had shot Holtz in his sleep and disposed of his body in the mine. Scott said he resented what his mother did and how she burdened him with knowledge of the crime.
"I hope it was all worth it," Scott muttered to his mother as he left the courtroom.
Investigators made previous unsuccessful attempts to find Holtz's body in the mine filled with the carcasses of cattle and other ranch animals. They finally succeeded last summer after digging deeper than ever before. They found a bullet in his skull.
Holtz was Uden's third husband. Last fall, investigators arrested Uden and her fourth and current husband, Gerald Uden, 72, in Missouri and charged them in two separate murder cases.
Prosecutors have not linked the two attacks.
Gerald Uden is serving life in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the shooting of his ex-wife and her two sons, ages 11 and 10. Their bodies have not been recovered.