In 2007, 42-year-old pregnant Rhoni Reuter, who was the girlfriend of former Chicago Bears player Shaun Gayle, was found dead on her kitchen floor. Because there was no forced entry, police started looking at those close to her, including boyfriend Shaun. Divorced mother-of-three Marni Yang was convicted of murdering Rhoni and her unborn daughter Skyler in 2011. Now, ten years later, Marni Yang’s attorney is fighting to free his client on the grounds that forensics evidence on the body does not support that Marni is the murderer.
Rhoni had been shot multiple times, with several shots into her seven-month pregnant belly, which indicates that the killer had a motive to target the baby as well.
Rhoni was reportedly in an open relationship with Shaun for 18 years, and one of the other women in his life was Marni Yang, but he had many women who may have been harboring rage towards Rhoni for being his longtime girlfriend, and pregnant with his baby.
Rhoni had also been receiving harassing letters from an unknown person, presumably from one of Shaun’s paramours.
Marni Yang claims she had also received these letters, but a police search of her home found mailing labels with the names and addresses of the women in Shaun Gayle’s life. They also discovered Yang owned a 9mm handgun, which is the same gun that killed Rhoni.
Yang says she had had the handgun when Rhoni was murdered, but that her son’s friend had stolen it from her home, and later returned it. Marni also bought items from Home Depot to make a silencer.
The most incriminating evidence against Marni was a recorded conversation she had with psychic Christi Paschen, who wore a wire. During their conversation, Marni said that she wore an elaborate disguise to murder Rhoni.
Her defense team claims that Marni could not have been the person who fired the shots that killed Rhoni because she was too short for it to make sense. In December 2019, Marni Yang’s petition for a new trial was approved but was put on hold because of COVID-19. In July her new petition for clemency will be heard.