Defense expert: Marni Yang too short to have murdered Rhoni Reuter

  • Marni Yang

    Marni Yang

  • Rhoni Reuter

    Rhoni Reuter

Updated 5/18/2021 4:17 PM

A world-renowned forensic pathologist concluded there is no way Marni Yang could have fatally shot Rhoni Reuter in 2007, according to documents Yang's defense team filed in court Tuesday as part of her ongoing effort to win a new trial.

Yang is serving two life sentences for the murder of Reuter, the girlfriend of former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle, who was pregnant with their child.


However, Dr. Cyril H. Wecht said in a video released Tuesday that Yang is too short to have been Reuter's killer.

"I believe that the person who shot and killed Rhoni Reuter would have had to have been 5 foot, 10 inches or taller," Wecht said. "I do not believe that Marni Yang, who is only about 5 feet or so, could possibly have inflicted that fatal gunshot wound."

Wecht, who took part in the investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also said he believes Reuter suffered injuries to her face -- including a black eye -- days before her murder.

A spokesman for Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the newly filed documents. Prosecutors previously filed a 184-page motion outlining the reasons they believe Yang should not receive a new trial.

Authorities say Yang, 52, was obsessed with Gayle and killed Reuter in her Deerfield home, in hopes of having a relationship with the football star. She was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2011.

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In March, family members of Reuter sent a letter to the media saying it is not fair that Yang, who is on tape confessing to the killing, is seeking another trial.

"There is no such thing as 'just another hearing.' Allowing her out of prison even to go to court is another insult," states the letter, which is attributed to Reuter's siblings, Thad and Wayde Reuter, and their mom, Landa Reuter. "Enough is enough."

Yang's attorneys have been seeking a new trial for more than a year, arguing that a re-examination of evidence from the crime scene shows an unknown man was involved. They say Yang admitted to the crime only to take the heat off her then 16-year-old son, whom she believed was being pressured by police to confess.

The two sides are scheduled to be back in court in July.

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