told me he <was dead / died/ had been dead>[Reported speech]
I'd like to get your advice for the following sentences (reported speech).
1 She told me he was dead twenty years ago
2 She told me he died twenty years ago
3 She told me he had been dead twenty years ago
4 She told me he had been dead for twenty years
I'm wondering which tense I have to use : preterite or past perfect ?
I tend to think both are possible but I think that with past perfect as in sentence n°3, you cant' use "ago" but "for" ?
I'm a little bit confused here... and would be grateful if you can make it clear for me.
Thank you very much in advance,
"J'ai choisi les mots comme seule arme, j'ai une confiance tout à fait illimitée en leur pouvoir." (Michel Houellebecq)