WAUKEGAN, Ill. — Lawyers for Marni Yang said Wednesday that new evidence exonerates her in the 2007 murder of Rhoni Reuter, the then-girlfriend of former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle, and called for a new hearing in her case.
Reuter was shot six times, including two bullets to her abdomen, resulting in the death of both her and her unborn child in 2007. Yang had an on-again, off-again relationship of her own with Gayle, and at her trial was portrayed as a scorned girlfriend driven by jealousy. She was convicted of the murder in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Private investigator Steve LaPino now says there is new evidence that was allegedly overlooked or ignored by the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.
“I want the truth on bullets that were found at the scene with male DNA on it. We want the truth on that,” LaPino said.
Yang's lawyers go further, alleging investigators framed the mother of three for the murder. Shaun Gayle was interviewed by detectives at the time of the murder and cleared, but Yang's attorneys are also challenging his alibi.
Michelle Ammentorp, a longtime friend of Reuter has also expressed doubt about Yang's guilt, believing she was wrongfully convicted and that the real killer is still out there. Now Yang's attorneys said they've uncovered new evidence and have been pushing for a new trial.
Last month, a judge ruled Yang's wrongful conviction petition can move forward. Defense lawyer Jed Stone filed motions in court Wednesday, seeking to obtain more information and evidence from prosecutors.
“They can look at anything they want, and there isn’t a single piece of scientific evidence that leads to Marnie Yang," Stone said. “She had absolutely nothing to do with this crime, and this is like a David and Goliath story.”
It’ll be up to a Lake County judge whether or not Yang can get a new trial or even exoneration.