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Crime News Snapped

2 Of Anne Plue Gates' 3 Husbands Turned Up Murdered — Was She A Killer Or Just Unlucky?

Anne Plue Gates claimed it was her friend who was behind the murder of her second husband. Years later, she married that friend.

By Benjamin H. Smith

It wasn’t easy being Anne Plue Gates’ husband. In fact, in two out of three cases, it was deadly.  

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Born Anne Gibson in 1949, she grew up in Lewisville, Indiana. She was an only child and remained close to her parents throughout her life.  

“Being an only child, she got away with a lot of stuff,” childhood friend Tim Conwell told “Snapped,” airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen.

After high school, Anne became a nurse. In 1977, she married David Plue, a Vietnam War veteran who worked at a Chrysler automobile factory. 

The marriage didn't last long. On the night of May 28, 1978, David’s dead body was found on a rural road in Indiana with two bullets in the back of his head. There were no witnesses and no arrests were ever made in the case. 

Through his job, David had a $100,000 life insurance policy. Anne used the money to buy a  home in Picayune, Mississippi, moving there with her parents immediately after her husband’s death.

Picayune is an hour away from New Orleans. That’s where Anne met Raymond Gates soon after landing in the area. Born in 1922 in Omaha, Nebraska, Raymond had moved to “The Big Easy” after being stationed there during World War II.

After the war, Raymond became an accountant and worked at Tidewater, Inc, a small shipping company that grew into a global business. In 1960, he married his longtime girlfriend but she died tragically 11 years later from an aneurysm.  

Anne was drawn to Raymond’s calm disposition and gentlemanly manners. Despite their 26-year age difference, they married in December 1978. 

In the early 1980s, Raymond built a house for Anne in Arabi, Louisiana, just past the city limit, in St. Bernard Parish. They often entertained guests there.

But on the afternoon of Oct. 7, 1987, 911 received a frantic call from Anne. She claimed she had just found Raymond dead inside their home. 

Police officer’s arrived to find Anne standing in the Gates’ front yard. She was with a man who was a security guard from the hospital where she was a nurse.

“When you first walk into the house, the TV was blaring full force. [Raymond] was lying on the floor, blood everywhere,” former St. Bernard Sheriff’s Detective Sergeant Gerald Holland told “Snapped.”   

Raymond had severe head wounds, the nature of which suggested the murder weapon was long and thin. By the fireplace, a poker was missing. 

There were no signs of forced entry. Investigators determined Raymond had been dead for several days.

“On the TV stand, the TV Guide was still open to the day of October 3rd and there was blood spatter on the TV Guide,” Holland told producers.

Anne said she hadn’t been at the house since September 30. But one detail she shared with investigators immediately aroused suspicion. She said the man with her at that moment was her boyfriend.

“Raymond was older than Anne and Anne had claimed that she had an open relationship with him and was having relationships on the side with other people,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans told “Snapped.”

In fact, Anne claimed she didn't even live with him full time.

“Anne explained that she lived a couple of days a week with her husband, Raymond, in Arabi, and a couple of days a week with her boyfriend in Metairie [a New Orleans suburb], and she lived a couple of days a week with her parents in Picayune, Mississippi,” St. Bernard Sheriff’s Lieutenant Gina Holland told “Snapped.”

Anne claimed Raymond wasn’t bothered by the arrangement and saw other people as well. She said while staying elsewhere, Raymond called to say he’d be out of town for a few days, and that was the last time she ever spoke to him. 

Investigators interviewed Anne's boyfriend, who said he was working on October 3 and didn’t own a car. He backed up Anne’s story and was eliminated as a suspect. 

Raymond’s family was horrified to learn of his murder. They were also taken aback by Anne’s lack of involvement in planning his funeral arrangements and notified authorities. 

One of Raymond’s co-workers also told investigators about the suspicious circumstances behind David Plue’s murder nine years earlier. By speaking to police in Indiana, detectives learned it was still an open murder investigation. 

At the time of David’s murder, Anne was recovering in a hospital from an elective surgery. “She had a pretty good alibi to cover herself but it appeared that the Indiana authorities didn’t trust that she was not somehow involved,” Gina Holland explained.

The murder weapon was never found, however, investigators learned that Anne's friend Tim Conwall had reported the theft of a .38 caliber revolver from his vehicle prior to the murder. While Conwell was considered a person of interest in Plue’s murder, no charges were ever brought against him. 

Investigators also learned Raymond had a life insurance policy worth $82,000, which Anne was the beneficiary of. They now had motive. A police tip would soon give them evidence. 

“The mailman had came forward and he informed the investigation that he had seen Anne Gates’ Cadillac, white in color, in the driveway on October the 3rd, 1987,” Gerald Holland said.

Anne Gates was arrested on December 8, 1987, and charged with second-degree murder, according to the Associated Press. She made bail three days later.

Just before her trial was to start in 1989, Anne Gates pleaded no contest to manslaughter charges, according to the Chicago Tribune. She was sentenced 10 years in prison and avoided the more serious charge of murder.

As part of her plea deal, Anne agreed to provide a statement to authorities about the murder of Raymond Gates. In it, she laid sole responsibility for her husband’s death at the feet of her longtime friend, Tim Conwell.

Anne claimed she picked Conwell up from the airport in New Orleans on the morning of October 3, 1987. They were staying together at a hotel nearby. Anne said they later went to her and Raymond’s home in Arabi where they watched a football game together. While Anne took a shower, she alleged Raymond and Tim got into a fight.  

 “While she was in the shower she heard Raymond and Tim arguing and she came out of the shower and she saw Tim hitting Raymond over the head with this fireplace poker and by the time she got to him, he had hit him seven or eight times in the head,” Gerald Holland said.

"She claimed that Raymond had his hands up in a defensive mode and that he was saying to Anne, ‘I’ve always been good to you, why are you doing this to me?’ Even her own story indicates that Raymond knew she was somehow involved in this,” Gina Holland added.

Anne said she helped dispose of the evidence by throwing the murder weapon into a body of water. She said Conwell then left New Orleans and threatened her should she go to the police.

After securing an arrest warrant, Conwell was lured to New Orleans on the premise of testifying on Anne’s behalf. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. 

Though he was offered a plea deal, Conwell decided to go to trial. The prosecution had little evidence against him besides Anne’s testimony. After a two-day trial, the jury was unable to reach a decision. Conwell was set free and returned home to Indiana. The prosecution decided not to retry him. 

Despite pleading no contest to her part in the murder of Raymond Gates, Anne successfully sued for her part of his life insurance policy. She was awarded $25,000 in 1992, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

After serving less than half of her sentence, Anne Gates was released from prison. She later reconnected with Tim Conwell, and they married in 1997. Anne Gates died from kidney failure in 2016. 

The case files for the murder of Raymond Gates were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. No further arrests have ever been made for his murder or the murder of David Plue. 

For more about this case and others like it, watch “Snapped,” airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen, or stream episodes here.

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