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Yang’s Friend Testifies In Murder Trial

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Marni Yang, Rhoni Reuter

Marni Yang (left) was convicted of killing Rhoni Reuter (right) and her unborn child in 2007. Prosecutors said Yang killed Reuter, the girlfriend of former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle, to eliminate her as a romantic rival. (Credit: Deerfield Police Department/CBS)

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Updated 03/10/11 – 6:00 p.m.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) – A Lake County jury heard recorded phone calls of Marni Yang telling a close friend how she’d shot and killed former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle’s pregnant girlfriend, Rhoni Reuter, while wearing a disguise.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, Yang’s friend, Christie Paschen, a professional psychic, took the witness stand in Waukegan on Thursday. Paschen wore a wire for police, who say Yang offered a full confession on tape.

In court Thursday, Prosecutors began playing a set of at least five recordings of conversations between Paschen and Yang.

“All she was doing was screaming,” Yang says in one recording. “I took one last kick as she fell, and finally, I took one last shot to her head.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports

At least two were recorded before Paschen began cooperating with police. Those tapes are from calls Yang placed to Paschen at another job she held, because the company she works for records phone calls.

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, in one of those tapes, Yang is heard calling Paschen at work and telling Paschen that before the murder, she’d bought a rental car, stolen its license plates, then placed the plates on her own car. Yang also tells Paschen that she’d put on dark makeup to change her complexion, put on a black wig and sweatpants before going to Reuter’s home.

Yang is also heard telling Paschen that she took out a gun when Reuter walked up to her home, then followed Reuter and shot her.

Paschen has testified that Yang told her she slept with Gayle on their first date in 2005 and that Yang grew increasingly frustrated with Gayle over the next two years, believing he was not being up-front with her about other women.

Eventually, Paschen said, Yang got into Gayle’s email and found out about the other women Gayle was seeing, including Reuter. Paschen testified Yang told her she wanted to kill Gayle, then later decided she wanted to kill Reuter when she found out Reuter was pregnant with Gayle’s child.

Paschen testified that, in conversations when Yang would talk about Reuter, she referred to Reuter by a code name: “Miss Macy.”

Paschen said she told Yang that she shouldn’t kill Reuter, advising her as a psychic that “the universe has a way of balancing everything out.” She said she told Yang that Gayle having a baby with Reuter might be a way of balancing the universe.

Paschen also testified that three weeks before Reuter was killed, Yang told her she went to Reuter’s apartment and stood in the hall with a gun, but couldn’t bring herself to shoot Reuter.

Then, on the night before the murder, Yang came to Paschen, a tarot card reader, and Yang asked Paschen if she’d be successful in killing Reuter. Paschen testified that she drew the Sun card, indicating Yang would be successful.

Paschen testified that, after that, Yang said she’d call Paschen at work and ask her if she’d like to have dinner, telling her it would be code meaning she’d killed Reuter.

In one of the tapes played in court on Thursday, recorded the day after Reuter’s murder, Yang asks Paschen if she wants to have dinner.

That night, Yang went to Paschen’s condo and the two drove to dumpsters throughout Arlington Height discarding evidence: gun grips packaging, a black wig and sweat suit and a stolen license plate.

 A year and a half later, Paschen made a deal with authorities to wear a wire to a Denny’s restaurant to record Yang.  As they speak of the murder Yang says in whispered tones, among other things, that “nobody could identify me driving away from the scene.”

“They have no evidence,” Yang said. “If they had their ducks in a row, they’d be at my doorstep.”

Also on the tapes Thursday, Yang makes reference to hoping to discard what’s believed to be the murder weapon in a forest preserve, but she just can’t find the right spot. 

Police began questioning Paschen because Yang registered the rental car used in the murders to her address. It’s unclear what if any arrangement was made with Paschen in exchange for her cooperation.

WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser, CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole contributed to this report.

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