Jealousy Fueled Brutal Murder Plot: Prosecutor

Bond denied for woman accused in murder of Bear's girlfriend

By Rob Stafford and Zach Christman
|  Thursday, Jul 30, 2009  |  Updated 1:43 PM CDT
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Reuter's Brother:  Murder Has "Eaten At My Soul"

Chicago Sun-Times

Marni Yang (L) has been charged in the murder of Rhoni Reuter.

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Shaun Gayle: We Never Dated

Shaun Gayle speaks after a bond hearing for the woman accused of murdering his girlfriend and unborn child.

Reuter's Brother: Murder Has "Eaten At My Soul"

March, 2008: Rhoni Reuter is remembered as a woman who called home every day and never missed a holiday with her family.
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In the first court hearing for the woman accused of murdering Rhoni Reuter, prosecutors described a calculated plot fueled by jealousy that led to a brutal murder -- with plenty of twists in-between.

Reuter was the ex-girlfriend of Bears player Shaun Gayle, and she was pregnant with his child when she was shot to death in her home in 2007. Bond was denied Wednesday for Marni Kay Yang, the accused killer.

Reuter opened the door for her attacker, who shot her seven times with a 9mm handgun -- the last time in the head, according to prosecutors. 

Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Pavletic said Yang bought a book on how to make a gun silencer and bought all the components she needed from a Home Depot store weeks before before the shooting.

As they laid out their case, prosecutors described how they think Yang plotted the attack: She rented a car the day before and put stolen license plates on it, driving it to the scene of the crime. She walked up the stairs to Reuter's condo and knocked. When a stunned Reuter opened the door, Yang began firing, they said.

She then dumped the gun, a disguise she allegedly wore and other items in trash bins, prosecutors said.

Yang stole a bracelet from the scene that belong to Reuter, and with another person buried it in a forest preserve, they said. Investigators went to the forest preserve over the weekend and dug it up. Etched in the bracelet was the word "pregnant."

Prosecutors said the day before the murder, Yang told a friend she was going to kill Reuter, and the day after, she told the same friend she'd done it.  That friend was wearing a wire for investigators, they said.

"Marni Yang, in her own words, described how she committed this murder and how she disposed of the evidence," said Deerfied Deputy Police Chief Rick Wilk.

Yang was the very first person to call Gayle after he learned of Reuter's death.  Gayle said he thought Yang had called him "to offer her support."

"Clearly the motive in this case was, and is, jealousy," said Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller.

The prosecution thinks Yang dated Gayle -- or that she at least believed she had -- but in a statement made after court Wednesday, Gayle denied it.

"I considered her a friend. I have since discovered Ms. Yang wanted our friendship to be more than it was. However, we never had a dating relationship of any kind. Now it is my belief Ms. Yang's desire for a relationship and my not responding favorably to her hopes for something more is the motivation behind her horrific acts to which she is now charged," Gayle said.

Prosecutors said Yang has a history of jealous anger.

In 1998, a member of the Chicago police took out an order of protection against Yang, accusing her of threatening him, his career and his marriage, they said.

Yang sat in court with her head bowed Wednesday, showing no signs of emotion.  Her attorney, William Hedrick, said his client is innocent.  Yang will be held in custody until her trial.

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