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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 1 - 2
Date of murder: October 7, 1987
Date of arrest: December 8, 1987
Date of birth: 1949
Victim profile: Raymond Gates, 65 (her estranged husband)
Method of murder: Beating to death with a fireplace poker
Location: Arabi, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, USA
Status: Pleaded no contest to manslaughter in 1989. Sentenced to 10 years in prison

When sheriff's officers in Rushville, Indiana, talked about the death of David Plue, they came up empty in their search for motives. 

The proverbial man without enemies, Plue had been shot in the head, execution-style, his body discarded alongside a rural highway in 1978. 

No one suspected his widow of playing a role in the crime, although in retrospect, Sheriff David Clevenger recalls that the 29-year-old woman "told us a lot of lies." Nine years later, in Arabi, Louisiana, 65-year-old Raymond Gates was found dead in his home, skull crushed by a dozen blows from something resembling a poker. 

Raymond's estranged wife, 38-year-old Anne Gates, "discovered" the body and phoned for police. A former nurse, residing at her mother's home in Mississippi since the break-up of her May-December marriage, Anne seemed stricken by her husband's death, but homicide detectives weren't convinced. For openers, police had found a cigarette -- Anne's brand -- still smoldering in Raymond's living room when they arrived, and they were told the victim did not smoke. 

A set of fireplace tools was missing from the murder scene, and officers believed they'd found their motive in the form of an insurance policy, scheduled to pay Anne Gates $82,000 in the event of her aging husband's death. Forensics experts noted that the suspect, five full inches taller than the victim, could have easily inflicted wounds which cracked his skull. 

A conversation with authorities in Indiana led to Anne's arrest on December 9, 1987, two months after the murder. Released on $40,000 bond, she also faced the prospect of another charge in Indiana, where Rush County authorities have reopened their investigation of her first husband's murder.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans


Anne Gates, Louisiana Black Widow with an Original Legal Strategy - 1987

Wife in prison gets husband’s estate money

May 27, 1992

Chalmette, La. — A woman serving 10 years for her husband’s death has inherited $25,000 of his money.

The out-of-court settlement with Anne Gates ends a four-year legal battle over Raymond Gates’ estate.

Mrs. Gates was charged with first-degree murder in 1987 after her husband was beaten to death with a fireplace poker in Arabi, a St. Bernard Parish community just outside New Orleans. Mrs. Gates pleaded no contest to manalong slaughter in 1989.

Gates’ will left everything to her and — if she died before him — to her mother, Ileane Gibson.

Anyone convicted of murder can be removed from the victim’s will in Louisiana. However, Mrs. Gates’ lawyers said that didn’t apply to her because a no contest plea does not admit guilt.


Murder charges filed against wife

Associated Press

December 15, 1987

Chalmette, La. — Murder charges filed against a woman in the beating death of her estranged second husband have attracted the interest of an Indiana lawman who investigated the death of her first husband.

“We’re hoping something will shake loose in Chalmette that will help us here,” said Sheriff David Clevenger of Rush County, Ind. Anne Gates, 38, was arrested and booked with second-degree murder in the killing of Raymond Gates, 65, deputies in St. Bernard Parish said. Gates was found dead in his Arabi home Oct. 7. Mrs. Gates said she found the body when she went by to pick up her mail.

Deputies said Mrs. Gates, who had been living with her parents in Picayune, Miss., was the beneficiary of her husband’s $82,000 life insurance policy.

Mrs. Gates’ first husband, David Plue, was found dead on a rural highway in Indiana in 1978 with two bullets in his head, Clevenger said.

Clevenger, then a sheriff’s investigator, said the 29-year-old autoworker had a $100,000 life insurance policy, and his wife collected the money.



MO: "Black widow" slayer of husbands for profit.

DISPOSITION: Pled "no contest" on one count in La., 1989; received $25,000 from victim's estate, 1992.



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