Court review of interrogation tapes begins
The first tapes of Marni Yang's three-day questioning session with police who suspected her of the murder of a Deerfield woman and that woman's unborn child were shown Tuesday in Lake County Circuit Court.
Yang, 42, faces life in prison if convicted of the Oct. 4, 2007 slayings of Rhoni Reuter and Reuter's daughter, who had been fathered by former Chicago Bears safety Shaun Gayle.
Although Yang did not confess to the murders, her attorneys still do not want any of the approximately 15 hours of tape of their client shown to the jury at her trial.
"There is no actual confession, no actual admission," attorney Jeffrey Lerner said. "Our concern is that there are statements (Yang made) that, if they are placed in the wrong context, could be misconstrued."
Police say Yang killed Reuter and the baby because she was jealous over Reuter's relationship with Gayle.
Detectives from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force took Yang into custody for questioning Jan. 4, 2007 as she was leaving her Chicago apartment.
All of the time Yang spent in custody, with the exception of when she was sleeping and not subject to questioning, was recorded on videotape.
Yang, who was released two days later when she demanded to speak to a lawyer, was eventually arrested March 9, 2009 after police said they secretly recorded her discussing the murders with a friend.
Yang arrived at the Round Lake Park police station about 10:45 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2007, according to the first of the tapes shown Tuesday in the courtroom of Associate Judge Christopher Stride.
From then until about 7:30 p.m., when she was taken to the Fox Lake police station to sleep in a cell for the night, the tapes show Yang seated in an interview room by herself.
The only meaningful exchange of the day shown on the tapes played Tuesday comes about two hours after she was placed in the room.
Sheriff's Detective Wendell Russell is shown entering the room and asked Yang if she wants something to drink, but Yang made a different request.
"No, I am waiting for my cell phone so I can call my attorney," she said on the tape. "And anything beyond this is an indication that I am being denied counsel."
Russell replied that "No one is denying you anything," but that detectives are waiting for the search of her apartment and the questioning of her children to be completed before they interview her.
Stride allowed the attorneys to play the tape at fast-forward speed Tuesday when Yang was not interacting with police, and the hours of her detainment rushed by.
Prosecutors say they have about nine total hours of tape where Yang is shown being questioned by police, and Stride has scheduled at least three more court sessions for the tape to be reviewed.
Yang is due to appear in court Sept. 27.