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Anne Louise GORDON





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robberies
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: September 23, 2002 / April 20, 2003
Date of arrest: April 22, 2003
Date of birth: March 24, 1959
Victim profile: Viola Pearl Neal, 80 / L.H. Tindall, 66
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Lexington County, South Carolina, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on July 17, 2007

Anne Louise Gordon and the felony murder rule

August 24, 2009

Anne Louise Gordon is an inmate at Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood, South Carolina. She has been incarcerated in the South Carolina Department of Corrections since July 20, 2007. On July 17, 2007, she was sentenced to life in prison without parole for, among other things, the murders of 2 people in Lexington County, South Carolina in September, 2002; and April, 2003. She pled guilty because her attorney informed her that she was eligible for the Death Penalty under the Felony Murder rule.

At her sentencing hearing, the prosecution admitted that they had no direct evidence that Anne Louise killed Viola Pearl Neal, the murder for which they said they would seek the Death Penalty against Anne Louise if she insisted on going to trial. The only evidence that the 11th Circuit Solicitors Office had was the fact that Ms. Neal had DNA found under her fingernails that the prosecution said couldn't be excluded as belonging to Anne Louise. The prosecution also reasoned that Anne Louise must have been the killer because Ms. Neal's bed was made like it was made by someone with a background in health care, which Anne Louise has. Prosecutor Dayton Riddle admitted at Anne Louise's sentencing hearing that the prosecution couldn't even say for certain that Anne had ever been in Ms. Neal's house, which is where she was murdered.

The prosecution didn't have a murder weapon, nor did they have an eyewitness.

The evidence in the other murder consisted of testimony from 2 people, neither of whom was an eyewitness, in which they claimed that Anne Louise "admitted" killing Mr. L.H. Tindall. It should also be pointed out that both of these individuals were themselves facing charges and looking for favorable sentencing consideration in exchange for this testimony.

Under the Felony Murder rule, a person can only be sentenced to death if they knowingly acted in a Felony in which they knew that death would likely result from their reckless indifference. In Anne Louise's case, the prosecution couldn't even say for certain who was involved in either murder. Anne Louise has filed for Post-Conviction Relief seeing how she received ineffective assistance of counsel for being advised by her attorney to plead guilty to avoid a Death Penalty that she wasn't even eligible for.


Gordon pleads guilty to killing two Lexington County seniors, robbery, arson

By Kara Gormley -

July 15, 2007

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - For years, Anne Louise Gordon has written letters from inside the Lexington County Detention Center, voicing frustration that it was taking so long for her case to go to trial.

In May a court date was set. Anne Louise Gordon was scheduled to go on trial next week for murder.

Then late Thursday night, it appears that Gordon had an 11th hour change of heart.

Before the hearing began, Anne Louise Gordon told WIS News 10's Kara Gormley she's pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty.

Gordon has been in tears almost from the beginning, when the only two people in her corner, members of her church, told her they loved her.

Gordon wasn't the only one visibly upset. The families of her two victims filled the Lexington County courtroom.

The daughter of one of the victims, Rita Davis, glared at Gordon as the assistant solicitor read in gory detail how Gordon killed her mother. Viola Peal, 80, was stabbed 14 times in her Gaston home in 2002.

Exactly seven months later - on Easter Sunday - L.H. Tindall murdered in Swansea. Gordon's motive, according to the solicitor's office, was this, "they were going to get money and buy crack cocaine."

When Anne Louise Gordon talked with WIS News 10's Kara Gormley by phone in May from inside the detention center, she admitted she had a drug problem, but that's it. "Ms. Neal, what happened to her was obscene. It was horrible, and I can't imagine the agony that family's gone through."

That agony was apparent Friday in court.

For years, Gordon has proclaimed her innocence. In letters she wrote from behind bars, Gordon admitted to a "checkered past." She said she's been involved in "stupid things because of the men in her life."

But when Kara asked her if she was capable of murder, she said, "Oh no ... only if it were a life and death situation. I can't begin to fathom hurting anybody."

Friday in court, Gordon admitted to murder, armed robbery and arson in both cases.

Gordon has another court appearance scheduled next week, a sentencing hearing.

Gordon is facing two life sentences plus 110 years in prison for her crimes.


Former nurse guilty of murder, robbery

The Augusta Chronicle

July 15, 2007

LEXINGTON - A former nurse has pleaded guilty to killing and robbing two elderly people in separate incidents nearly five years ago.

Anne Louise Gordon, 48, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts each of murder, second-degree arson and armed robbery a week before her first trial was set to begin, prosecutor Dayton Riddle said.

Ms. Gordon is set to be sentenced Tuesday. She faces up to two life sentences plus 110 years. The death penalty is no longer a possibility, Mr. Riddle said.

Mr. Gordon and her former boyfriend, Paul Edward Anderson, 34, were both charged with murder in the deaths of 66-year-old L.H. Tindall, who died in April 2003 in his Swansea home, and 83-year-old Viola Pearl Neal, who was stabbed and shot in the head in September 2002 at her home in Gaston.


Woman pleads guilty to murders

Anne Louise Gordon avoids death penalty, could get life in prison for 2002, 2003 slayings

The State

July 14, 2007

A Swansea woman pleaded guilty Friday to murdering an elderly man and woman in separate incidents in 2002 and 2003.

Anne Louise Gordon, 48, pleaded guilty to avoid prosecutors' seeking the death penalty against her, said her Columbia attorney, Cam Littlejohn.

Her sentencing is tentatively set for Tuesday in 11th Circuit Court in Lexington. She faces a sentence ranging from a minimum mandatory of 30 years up to 2 life sentences plus 110 years, said 11th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Dayton Riddle.

"The victims' families are happy that the charges were resolved, and they're looking forward to the sentencing hearing and getting it totally behind them," Riddle said after Friday's hearing.

Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said he never has seen a case like Gordon's in his more than 30 years as sheriff.

"I really believe she is a serial killer based on her profile," he said.

"She's a very intelligent woman, very manipulative, very cunning - and certainly committed these very vicious crimes. ... I think if she got out, she would do it again."

Metts said he believes Gordon, who had worked as a nurse, was the "mastermind" behind the killings, and her motive was robbery to feed a crack cocaine habit.

"She had a crack cocaine addiction," Littlejohn said. "We think it's the root of the entire problem."

Co-defendant Paul Edward Anderson, 34, who sometimes lived with Gordon, has not been tried on murder and other charges.

Gordon was scheduled to go on trial Monday in the case of L.H. Tindall, 66, who was found shot in the back of the head April 20, 2003, at his Lewis Rast Road home near Swansea.

Besides pleading guilty to that slaying, Gordon also admitted in court Friday to killing Viola Pearl Neal, 80, who was found stabbed 27 times and shot in the back of the head Sept. 23, 2002, at her Meadowfield Road home near Gaston.

Both homes, about 7 miles apart, were set on fire in an attempt to cover up the killings, sheriff's deputies said.

Neither Riddle nor Assistant Solicitor Angela Avinger specified who was the shooter. Riddle declined to discuss specifics afterward, noting more details would be revealed at next week's sentencing hearing.

Littlejohn also declined afterward to discuss specifics of his client's role in the slayings.

Gordon pleaded guilty to three charges in each slaying: murder, armed robbery and 2nd-degree arson. As part of the plea deal, a total of 6 other charges of 1st-degree burglary, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and conspiracy were dropped, Riddle and Littlejohn said.

Riddle said if the Tindall case had gone to trial, his office was intending to seek the death penalty afterward against Gordon for Neal's death.

Death penalty cases against female defendants are rare in South Carolina. There are no women on the state's death row; it has been 60 years since a woman was executed in the Palmetto State.


Woman accused of Lexington County murders speaks to WIS

By Kara Gormley -

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - She is accused in two brutal Lexington County murders, and now Anne Louise Gordon will finally have her day in court. But before she faces a judge, Gordon spoke to WIS' Kara Gormley from behind bars.

Gordon has written Kara for years from inside the Lexington County Detention Center. In her letters she maintains her innocence and talks about her desire to go trial. She wanted to talk to WIS on camera interview, but our cameras weren't allowed inside the detention center. She did talk by phone.

That's when she told Kara she is happy and relived that the case is moving forward. "My faith has gotten me through, because I know whatever it is I have to face, God is there with me."

Gordon is accused in the brutal killing of two Lexington County seniors. She's been sitting in jail more than four years, waiting to go to court.

In her letters from behind bars, she admits to a "checkered past." She says she's done and been involved in "stupid things because of the men in her life."

But is she capable of murder? "Oh-no, only if it were a life and death situation. I can't begin to fathom hurting anybody."

Gordon, now 48, is petite, well educated. She's a former nurse who specialized in helping the elderly. Sheriff James Metts says, "When you see her it's hard to believe she'd do something like this, but monsters come in all shapes and sizes."

Rita Davis' 83-year-old mother, Viola Pearl Neal, is one of the victims. Her death is a noise constantly in the back of Rita's mind - a sound that if you concentrate on long enough, is enough to drive you crazy. "It's just an empty spot there. I talked to her 30 minutes before she died and she was in such great spirits and the next call I got was from the coroner."

Viola Neal was stabbed 27 times, shot in the head, deputies say, then there was the fire. Davis says, "She died alone with people pouring accelerant on her."

Exactly seven months later, a few miles away, there was another murder. Sixty-three-year-old L.H. Tindall died, also shot in the head, according to investigators.

His home was also torched like Neal's, an attempt to cover up the killings, authorities said. And they say Gordon and Paul Anderson are behind the crimes.

Kara asks, "Are you guilty or innocent?"

"I am innocent of these charges," says Gordon.

"We believe firmly the evidence we've been able to get that Ms. Gordon was the one that actually did the killing and I think we will be able to prove that in court," says Sheriff Metts. 

Metts says Gordon and Anderson stole prescription drugs from Ms. Neal to feed a crack habit - drugs that Metts believed led Gordon on a cross-country killing spree. After her arrest in 2003, Metts called Gordon a serial killer, "Ms. Gordon told her accomplice in these two murders that this is not the first time she's killed. As a matter of fact she's killed many individuals across the country."

Those are claims that Metts now says were never substantiated, "We believed she may have been involved in other crimes. Nothing materialized from that."

What no one is disputing is Gordon's drug problem. "I want folks to know that there is hope for anybody to turn their life around and make a change and for me, it was coming to this situation and realizing I had a serious drug problem. I've addressed that. I've taken care of that, but there's hope. There's always hope."

She says she's hopeful now that a trial date has been set for a man she called her friend.

Gordon: "The only thing I can do is tell the truth and speak up for Ms. Neal and Mr. Tindall."
Kara: "And you contend that mr. Anderson is responsible."
Gordon: "Yes, Paul Anderson did indeed kill them."

But Sheriff Metts says, "Of course she's making reference that somebody else did the crime and she was just there. That's our job to prove in court. She did it. That's what we're going to do."

According to Gordon, "It's not about me. It's not about Paul Anderson. It's about the victims and they need to know I did not hurt her and I did not hurt Mr. Tindall either. Ms. Neal, what happened to her was obscene. It was horrible and I can't imagine the agony that family's gone through."

"We have no doubt of her guilt and if she's so concerned about the victims, I would really appreciate it if she was honest and let me know what happened. Please let me know what happened," says Neal's daughter. "I feel like I owe it to my mother to know the details and that way maybe it would be like holding her hand as she died because she died alone."

Anne Louise Gordon is set to go to trial for the murder of L.H. Tindall on July 9th.

No trial date has been set yet for the murder of Viola Pearl Neal. Paul Anderson's attorney told Kara that no trial dates have been set in either case for his client.


Nurse, companion are charged in killings

The Augusta Chronicle

April 24, 2003

LEXINGTON, S.C. - A licensed nurse and her companion have confessed to robbing and killing two elderly people in Lexington County, then setting their homes on fire to hide the crime, Sheriff James Metts said.

Anne Louise Gordon, 44, surrendered early Wednesday, and Paul Edward Anderson, 30, was caught after a five-hour manhunt, Sheriff Metts said. They are charged in the deaths of 66-year-old L.H. Tindall, who died Sunday in his Swansea home, and 83-year-old Viola Pearl Neal, who was stabbed and shot in the head in September at her Gaston home, the sheriff said.



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