Marni Yang's lawyers seek clemency from Pritzker based on possible coronavirus exposure

  • Marni Yang

    Marni Yang

Updated 4/16/2020 6:26 PM

Attorneys for Marni Yang, who was convicted in 2011 of murdering the pregnant girlfriend of former Chicago Bears player Shaun Gayle, filed an emergency petition for compassionate clemency on her behalf this week after discovering Yang had been exposed to the coronavirus.

The Illinois Department of Corrections reported earlier this month that four staff members and one inmate at the Logan Correctional Center in downstate Lincoln have tested positive for COVID-19.


Yang's attorney Jed Stone said a female prisoner who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 lived in the cell next to his client.

"They shared a shower, a bathroom, and it's almost a certainty that she's been exposed," Stone said.

Yang is at higher risk for COVID-19 complications because of type-2 diabetes, asthma and a compromised immune system, according to her defense team.

Requests for comment from Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office went unanswered Thursday.

Yang, 52, is serving two life sentences for killing Rhoni Reuter and her unborn child in 2007. Her attorneys are seeking a new trial.

Lee Filas, a spokesman for the Lake County state's attorney's office, did not comment on Stone's emergency petition.

In February, Lake County Judge Christopher Stride ruled Yang's lawyers should be able to access some of the evidence they requested, including a VHS tape containing surveillance footage of a barbershop that Gayle said he was at around the time of the murder.

In a 184-page motion to dismiss Yang's appeal, which is available online, Lake County prosecutors wrote that Gayle cooperated with police immediately after learning of Reuter's death and was able to provide a timeline of his activities.

As with most legal matters in Lake County, Yang's efforts to seek a new trial have been effectively put on hold by the coronavirus lockdown. Filas said there is a status hearing scheduled for May.

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