Trial Begins in Murder of Shaun Gayle’s Girlfriend

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Proceedings started Friday in the suburban Chicago trial of a woman accused of killing the girlfriend of former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle.

    In opening statements, prosecutors asked a simple question:  who would kill an unarmed woman and her unborn child?

    The answer, they said, was inescapably Marni Yang, a 43-year-old woman so obsessed with Gayle that she laid in wait for his girlfriend, Rhoni Reuter, early on the morning of Oct. 4, 2007 and shot her at least seven times.

    Marni Yang Profiled

    [CHI] Marni Yang Profiled
    The woman accused of murdering Rhoni Reuter had a background of making threats, but also volunteering with a community police group.

    Reuter was pregnant by Gayle, a member of the Bears' 1985 Super Bowl team.

    Prosecutor Patricia Fix described in vivid detail how Reuter's body was found.  She said that months before the shooting, Yang had purchased books with instructions on making a homemade silencer and then bought the materials to do so at a Home Depot store. 

    Dating Sites Show Personal Side of Murder Suspect

    [CHI] Dating Sites Show Personal Side of Murder Suspect
    Marni Kay Yang wasn't looking for "a party animal or player" but rather "other like-minded professionals," according to her profiles on several Web sites.

    Within a week Reuter's death, three tipsters named Yang as a suspect, Deerfield Police Chief John Sliozis said in May 2009.

    "And the information they were leaving was that she would be an individual capable of doing something like this because of the relationship she had with Shaun Gayle," Sliozis said at the time.

    Yang made one big mistake, Fix told the jury: she talked to her best friend, Christi Paschen.  In court-authorized recordings, Yang purportedly told Paschen that she wanted to eliminate the competition.

    But the defense warned that Yang was a victim, too.  Attorney William Hedrick told jurors there was no obsession or motive.  The only obsession, he said, was by police.  He said that at the time of the slaying, Gayle was seeing 18 or 19 different women, and he called Yang's purported confession to the crime a "festival of liars."

    "[It's] one person talking to the teller -- the queen of tall stories.  I mean, these people are besting each other as to who could come up with the goofiest tale.  And that's what's going on that tape," he told reporters outside the Waukegan courtroom.

    Hedrick said he'd like to call a few of those nearly two dozen other women in Gayle's life to the stand, but Judge Christopher Stride has ruled that depends on what Gayle says when he testifies.  He could take the stand as early as Monday.

    Yang, of Chicago, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child. 

    Full Coverage: Marni Yang