Yang confessed to friend on tape, prosecution says
In a recording played Thursday in court, Marni Yang told a close friend over soup and herbal tea in a restaurant how she gunned down Rhoni Reuter in cold blood.
Yang, on trial in Lake County for the murders of Reuter and her unborn child on Oct. 4, 2007, was speaking to Christi Paschen, her confidant and psychic adviser.
The conversations were on March 1 and March 2, 2009. The bulk of what Yang actually says on the tapes was inaudible to most observers in the courtroom, but jurors and attorneys on the case were provided transcripts of the statements.
Associate Judge Christopher Stride denied a request from Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix to give transcripts of the tapes to media members covering the trial.
Police investigating the slayings traced a cell phone call to Paschen's residence at the time in Arlington Heights and told her they were aware of her connection to Yang.
Paschen agreed to wear a concealed microphone and discuss the killings with Yang and arranged for the two to meet at a restaurant they visited frequently, Paschen said from the stand.
During the first meeting, Paschen tells Yang police claim they have a strong case against the both of them in the killings, but Yang tells Paschen the police are bluffing.
"I don't know if they are playing games," Paschen says on the tape. "They sound like they have their ducks in a row."
"If they had their ducks in a row," Fix says Yang replies, "they would be at my doorstep."
During a second meeting, Paschen tries to get Yang to explain what it was Yang buried behind an Arlington Heights banquet hall during the evening of Oct. 4, 2007.
Fix says that Yang, after briefly being evasive about the question, tells Paschen she buried an empty ammunition magazine from the 9 mm weapon she used in the killings.
The spot is actually where police recovered a bracelet with the word "Pregnant" engraved on it that police say Yang stole from Reuter's condominium in an effort to make the crime look like a robbery.
As the conversation continues, Paschen asks Yang what it was she saw inside Reuter's home, and Fix said Yang goes on to detail the crime.
Fix said Yang tells Paschen that she began firing at Reuter as soon as the victim opened the door to the condo and continued to fire as Reuter retreated from the doorway into the kitchen area.
"All she did was scream until she went down," Fix said Yang says on the tape. "I just took one last shot in her head, and that was it."
In his opening statement, defense attorney William Hedrick told the nine men and three women of the jury Paschen is an unreliable witness and the recordings they would hear of her and Yang were "a festival of liars."
Yang's defense team is scheduled to begin its cross-examination of Paschen Friday morning.