Trial set to begin in murder of ex-Bear's girlfriend, recording of alleged confession allowed as evidence

Marni Yang (left) and Rhoni Reuter
CBS/Deerfield Police Department
Trial Set To Begin In Murder Of Ex-Bear's Girlfriend
Marni Yang (left) and Rhoni Reuter
CBS/Deerfield Police Department

(CBS/WBBM) WAUKEGAN, Ill. - The trial will soon begin for Marni Yang, the woman charged with killing the pregnant girlfriend of ex-Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle, but her defense has already been dealt a significant blow after a judge ruled that prosecutors could play recordings of Yang's alleged confession.

The trial for Yang is set to begin March 1, according to CBS affiliate WBBM. She is charged in the 2007 shooting death of Rhoni Reuter.

Reuter was shot to death in her Deerfield condo on Oct. 4, 2007. Yang has claimed she was home replacing the battery in her broken car at the time, but her teenage son told police he didn't see her around at the time of the murder.

Authorities claim Yang was a jealous rival for Gayle's affection and conspired to kill Reuter, who was pregnant with Gayle's daughter.

Police say Yang allegedly used an elaborate scheme to cover her tracks, including wearing a disguise, building a home-made silencer and using a throw-away cell phone while planning and carrying out the crime.

On Saturday, WBBM reported that a Lake County judge ruled that prosecutors may play two wiretap recordings in which Yang allegedly admits killing Reuter.

But defense attorneys filed a last-minute motion questioning Gayle's actions immediately after he learned of the shooting, which they said included continuing for 10 minutes with the haircut he had been receiving. Gayle - who knew Yang, but denied having a sexual relationship with her - then called at least one friend for advice on how to deal with the attack before contacting police, Yang's attorneys contended in their filing, according to the station.

"Gayle's reaction to the first news of the shooting was bizarre and highly suspicious," attorneys William Hedrick and Jeffrey Learner wrote in their motion, WBBM reported.

They also contended Gayle was unhappy Reuter was pregnant, intended to have tests done to determine if he was the infant's father.

Yang faces charges of first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child.

Reuter was seven months pregnant when she was slain.