Key Witness in Yang Trial Admits She Lied to Police - NBC Chicago

Key Witness in Yang Trial Admits She Lied to Police

Christi Paschen initally claimed to know nothing about death of Rhoni Reuter



    She initially lied to police investigating the 2007 murder of Shaun Gayle’s pregnant girlfriend, claiming to know nothing even though Marni Yang allegedly had described the slaying to her, Christi Paschen admitted Friday.

    "You didn’t tell them Marni Yang had shot anybody, did you?" defense attorney William Hedrick asked.

    "No," replied Paschen, a crucial prosecution witness who a day earlier testified that Yang had described in detail the Oct. 4, 2007 slaying of Deerfield resident Rhoni Reuter.

    Paschen also secretly recorded for police two conversations in March 2009 in which Yang claims she gunned down the 42-year-old Reuter -- who was nearly seven months pregnant -- and her unborn daughter.

    Yang Defense Tries to Damage Witness Credibility

    [CHI] Yang Defense Tries to Damage Witness Credibility
    Christi Paschen initally claimed to know nothing about death of Rhoni Reuter.
    (Published Friday, March 11, 2011)

    Yang, 43, had been involved in a sporadic sexual relationship with Gayle but has denied being committing the murder. Prosecutors contend Yang carried out the killing because she was jealous of Reuter’s pregnancy and long-time relationship with Gayle, a member of the 1985 Super Bowl-winning team.

    Prosecutors on Friday also highlighted critical testimony from Paschen that was confirmed by other witnesses.

    Yang claimed she took a bracelet inscribed with the word "pregnant" from Reuter's condo during the killing, Paschen testified, saying she saw Yang bury something behind an Arlington Heights banquet hall hours after the slaying.

    Deerfield police officer Chris Fry told jurors that on March 1, 2009 he and other officers dug up a similar bracelet bearing the word “pregnant” from behind that banquet hall.

    Reuter’s former co-worker, Valerie Hicks-Thomas, testified she recognized the bracelet as one that Reuter frequently wore before her death.

    During her testimony Friday, Paschen also claimed she is a psychic who was recruited in the 1970s by an Army general into a secret military unit.

    "He recruited me for a program they were working on that included psychics," Paschen said, adding the purpose of the purported unit was to "look for intelligence information."

    She testified that in a final Middle East mission with the unit, all its members were killed except her -- and that the Army "erased" most of her memories of the purported incident.

    Testimony resumes Monday and is expected to include members of Reuter's family and the pathologist who examined the pregnant woman's body.

    Full Coverage: Marni Yang