Friend Says Yang Confessed to Murder

Christi Paschen says she helped Marni Yang dispose of evidence

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Hours after she allegedly gunned down former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle’s pregnant girlfriend Rhoni Reuter, Marni Yang told a friend how she’d killed her and confided that she almost decided not to go ahead with it, the friend testified Thursday.

    Wearing a dark wig and makeup to disguise her appearance, Yang waited with a pistol in the hall outside Reuter’s Deerfield condominium but got tired of waiting for Reuter to appear, said Christi Paschen, testifying about a conversation she had later with Yang, her longtime friend.

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    "She started to decide she was going to leave, then 'Miss Macy's' opened the door. She started shooting," Paschen said, using the derisive nickname Yang had given Reuter because she worked part-time at the department store chain.

    Reuter -- who was nearly seven months pregnant with the child of former Bears star Gayle -- tried to retreat into her apartment, but Yang pursued her, Paschen testified.

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    "She pushed the door opened and stepped inside and kept shooting,' Paschen told jurors hearing Yang’s murder case at the Lake County Courhouse in Waukegan.

    Yang went to Pachen’s apartment in Arlington Heights the night of Oct. 4, 2007, hours after the killing, said Paschen, a self-described psychic who had known Yang for about 18 years.

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    The 42-year-old Reuter died after being shot at least six times, with two of the bullets striking her unborn daughter.

    In recounting the killing, Paschen said Yang described spotting an ultrasound photo of Reuter’s baby on the refrigerator. Yang also mentioned seeing baby clothes piled on a dining-room table and said she took a bracelet she saw lying on a counter, Paschen said.

    Lake County prosecutors already have shown jurors crime-scene photos of the ultrasound picture and stacks of baby clothing.

    Later Thursday, prosecutors are expected to play conversations that Paschen — who cooperated with authorities — secretly recorded with Yang in 2009 in which Yang also discussed the killing.

    Prosecutors say Yang killed Reuter because she was upset that Reuter was pregnant with Gayle’s baby. Yang had been involved in an occasionally sexual relationship with Gayle, prosecutors have said.

    Paschen said Yang told her the night before the murder that she planned to kill Reuter because she was upset the Deerfield woman was pregnant.

    "I was trying to talk her out of doing it," Paschen testified.  "I really didn’t believe she would do it. I didn’t think she could."

    Paschen testified that on that same night, Yang asked her to do a tarot-card reading for her.

    "She wanted me to tell her what the cards said -- would she be successful in killing Miss Macy’s,” Paschen testified.

    During the reading, a "sun card" came up, which Paschen said signifies "success in achieving a goal."

    Before Paschen fell asleep that night, she said Yang told her she would think about her friend’s advice not to kill Reuter.

    When Paschen awoke the next morning, Yang was gone, Paschen said.

    She told jurors that Yang had told her earlier about going to Reuter’s home with a gun three weeks before the shooting but changing her mind about going through with killing her once she got there.

    "She had gone over to Miss Macy’s with a gun and stood outside her apartment and was thinking of shooting her when she came out, but it felt wrong, and she couldn’t do it," Paschen said.

    Paschen also testified that in the summer of 2007, Yang had talked about killing Gayle because she was frustrated that he was seeing other women.

    As her testimony began, prosecutors asked Paschen to point out Yang in the courtroom, but she was unable to do so.

    "I’m not seeing her," said Paschen.

    Full Coverage: Marni Yang