Yang lawyer: DNA at crime scene came from 'unknown man'

That's what defense attorney for Yang now says

  • Marni Yang

    Marni Yang

Updated 9/10/2020 6:21 PM

DNA collected at the scene of Rhoni Reuter's murder in 2007 came from an unknown man and not, as originally believed, left unintentionally by police investigators, the lawyer for the woman convicted of the slaying said Thursday.

The recent finding by defense experts comes as Marni Yang continues her legal fight for a new trial on charges she fatally shot Reuter and Reuter's unborn baby in Deerfield.


Authorities say Yang, 52, was obsessed with Reuter's boyfriend and the child's father, former Chicago Bears safety Shaun Gayle, and killed her in hopes of having a relationship with the football star. She was found guilty of murder in 2011 and is serving a life sentence.

Yang attorney Jed Stone said Thursday a re-examination of evidence taken from the crime scene, including DNA from a shell casing near Reuter's body, proves that an unknown man was involved.

"It is essential we know who committed this crime," Stone said. "Marni Yang's fingerprints are nowhere near the crime scene. Marni Yang's DNA is nowhere near the crime scene."

However, Lee Filas, a spokesman for Lake County state's attorney Michael Nerheim, noted that Yang made incriminating statements about the killing, including that she wore gloves. Yang has since retracted that confession, and Stone has said his client confessed because she feared police would arrest her son, then 16, instead.

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The effort for a new trial kicked off in October, when Stone held a news conference with Yang's now adult children, who claimed they were harassed by investigators and prosecutors to implicate their mother.

In December, Yang's team cleared its first hurdle when Lake County Judge Christopher C. Stride ruled it could proceed with a petition for a new trial. Since then, the state's attorney's office has filed a 184-page motion to dismiss Yang's request. The motion can be viewed online at lakecountyil.gov//1901/News.

Both sides are due back in court Nov. 10 for a status hearing.

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