Why woman convicted of killing ex-Chicago Bear's girlfriend, unborn child is seeking a new trial

  • Marni Yang

    Marni Yang

By Henry Redman
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 3/26/2019 6:10 AM

Marni Yang was convicted in 2011 of killing the pregnant girlfriend of former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle, but her lawyer intends to file a petition for a retrial.

Defense attorney Jed Stone said he plans to file the post-conviction petition sometime in June because of new evidence.


"We think we've uncovered substantial evidence of actual innocence," Stone said.

Yang, now 51, is serving two life sentences in Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln for the shooting death of Deerfield resident Rhoni Reuter, 42, and her unborn child.

In the initial investigation of the shooting, there was circumstantial evidence pointing to Yang; however, police said one piece of evidence sealed it for them. Two conversations between Yang and a friend were secretly recorded, and in the tapes, Yang can be heard describing the incident.

"I think she's innocent despite the tape-recorded statement," Stone said. "I think the full story was never told with regards to that statement."

In her initial trial, prosecutors said Yang was obsessed with Gayle and killed Reuter in hopes of strengthening a relationship with him.

An appeals court denied Yang's 2013 bid for a new trial. In 2014, a Lake County judge granted Stone's request for new DNA tests on bullet shell casings.

The petition will include a "great deal of forensic testing across the board," according to Stone. That includes evidence gathered by a forensic pathologist, crime scene analyst, audiologist, and video expert as well as the DNA evidence gathered in 2014, Stone said.

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