October 7, 1987
Arabi, Louisiana
Raymond Gates (65) is killed by a dozen blows to his head

Raymond’s body was discovered by his estranged wife, Anne (38). Anne told police she found the body after she came to Raymond’s house to check if she had any mail. Medical examination revealed Raymond’s head had been bludgeoned with a blunt instrument 12 times.

During the course of the investigation, it was revealed Anne’s first husband, 29-year-old David Plue, had died in a violent murder as well. Plue was found on the side of a rural Indiana road in 1978, dead from two shots “execution-style” to the head. Although suspicion was cast toward Anne, nothing could be proven and she inherited Plue’s $100,000 insurance policy. After Raymond’s murder, she stood to claim another $82,000 from his life insurance.

Anne was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder. She agreed to plead no contest to manslaughter in exchange for testimony against her longtime friend Timothy Conwell, whom she accused of killing Raymond. Anne testified Conwell beat Raymond with various household objects, including a fire poker and a figurine, which he later discarded. The motive behind the killing, according to Anne, was due to a $30,000 debt Raymond owed but could not repay.

Anne was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Conwell’s first trial ended in a mistrial. Prosecutors did not attempt to retry Conwell within a year and, in accordance to state law, he was released. Conwell was suspected of killing Plue, as well, but there was not enough evidence against Conwell to bring him to trial. Plue’s murder remains officially unsolved.

Raymond’s will named Anne as his sole beneficiary, unless she died before him. Should Raymond have survived Anne, her mother, Ileane Gibson, was to inherit his estate. In Louisiana, a will is not awarded to the person guilty of murdering the one who held the will, though Anne argued a no contest plea is not an admission of guilt and thus the law did not apply to her case. After several years, the case was settled out of court. The $125,000 estate was split five ways: Anne and her mother received $25,000 each while Raymond’s brother, niece, and nephew were awarded the remaining $75,000.

The Herald [Jasper, Indiana]. December 11, 1987

“Woman serving time in death of spouse inherits $25,000.” Chicago Tribune. May 26, 1992. Accessed: October 7, 2019. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1992-05-26-9202170079-story,amp.html
“Spouse killer gets $25,000 inheritance.” Argus-Leader [Sioux Falls, South Dakota. May 25, 1992
“The State.” The Star [Muncie, Indiana]. March 25, 1989
“‘Black Widow’ free on bond.” The Nobelsville Ledger. December 14, 1987
“Wife may have killed 2 husbands.” The Herald [Jasper, Indiana]. December 11, 1987
“Death of 2nd husband renews earlier probe.” The Springfield News-Ledger. December 11, 1987
“Woman accused of killing husband.” The Republic [Columbus, Indiana]. December 11, 1987

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