A jury will be allowed to hear a taped conversation between Marni Yang and her best friend that allegedly implicates her in the murder of the girlfriend of former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle and their unborn child, a Lake County judge ruled today.
Yang, 42, is accused of fatally shooting Rhoni Reuter in Reuter's Deerfield condominium, killing her and her unborn child on Oct. 4, 2007.
In a separate motion, defense attorneys said that they plan to introduce evidence that Shaun Gayle insisted that Reuter terminate two prior pregnancies and was not happy about her third pregnancy. They also will call a witness who will state that Reuter claimed Gayle pushed her, several weeks prior to her death.
Defense Attorney William Hedrick also said that on the day of the murder, Gayle was at a barber shop getting a hair cut where he received several calls from friends notifying him of Reuter's death.
“He told the barber to finish the haircut,” Hedrick said. “Mr. Gayle talked to at least two advisers about how he should react to the news he was given, and he was told he should go to the police station.”
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ari Fisz said that Gayle did not receive confirmation that Reuter was dead until police told him, at which time he was very emotional.
“If the defense is going to make any arguments that Shaun Gayle was involved in the murder of Rhoni Reuter, it’s absolutely not true and ridiculous,” he said.
In another motion, the defense asked if they could bring a makeup, hair color and a hairstylist into the jail.
“The defendant’s appearance has declined since she has been in jail,” Hedrick said. “I think it would be prejudicial if she appears as she does presently. She has an absolute right to appear as a normal human being.”
Stride said that because he does not run the jail, any of those issues would have to be dealt with the jail directly. He also took issue with Hedrick’s characterization of Yang’s physical appearance.
“You uncomfortably described Ms. Yang,” Stride said. “Other than her hair graying and losing some weight, she doesn’t look that different.”
Both sides are due back in court on February 28 to wrap up some final motions before jury selection begins on March 1.