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updated: 3/9/2011 6:18 PM

Witness says he took Yang to practice shooting

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  • Marni Yang

    Marni Yang

  • Rhoni Reuter

    Rhoni Reuter


A friend of Marni Yang testified Wednesday that Yang owned a 9 mm pistol, and he took her to a shooting range to practice with it at least twice.

Yang, 43, is on trial in Lake County Circuit Court for the Oct. 4, 2007 slayings of Rhoni Reuter of Deerfield and Reuter's unborn daughter.

Prosecutors claim Yang shot Reuter several times with a silencer-equipped 9 mm pistol because she was jealous of Reuter's relationship with former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle, the father of the baby.

Sal Devera, a Cook County sheriff's deputy who said he had been dating Yang for more than three years in 2007, said Yang owned four handguns that she kept in a black bag in a closet of her Chicago home.

One of the weapons was a 9 mm Beretta semiautomatic pistol, Devera said, that Yang inherited from an uncle who died in Florida.

Devera said he took Yang to a suburban shooting range on several occasions, and she brought the Baretta to practice with at least twice.

He also said he bought her a pair of black rubber handgrips for the weapon in order to make the handle slimmer and easier for her to hold.

When she was questioned by police in January 2008, Yang admitted she owned the Beretta but said it was among the items that had turned up missing from her home during summer 2007.

Yang is on videotape telling detectives from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force that she held a meeting with her three children and Devera to discuss the apparent thefts, and to try to determine who had taken the items.

Devera testified Wednesday that he recalled such a meeting, but said the missing items included a camera, a video game system and video games.

There was no mention of a gun being taken from the house, Devera said.

"A gun being gone would have been a big thing," Devera said. "A missing weapon would be something more to think about and worry about than a missing camera or video games."

Police say Yang told her friend Christi Paschen that she had built a silencer for the Beretta, used it to kill Reuter and the baby, then put the weapon in a bucket full of cement that she tossed in a garbage bin.

Paschen secretly recorded that conversation with Yang in March 2009 for police, who say Yang provides a full confession to the crime on the tape.

Paschen is expected to testify in the case Thursday.

Also on Wednesday, a computer expert for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security testified he searched the hard drive in the computer Yang used at her job at a Buffalo Grove sales company.

Agent Kevin Gerloch said he found Yang had used the computer to get Map Quest directions to Reuter's condominium in Deerfield.