Jury Awards $40M To Reuter Family In Suit Against Marni Yang

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Cook County jury awarded $40 million to the family of Rhoni Reuter on Wednesday, in a lawsuit they filed against the woman convicted of killing Reuter and her unborn child in 2007.

In March, a Lake County jury convicted Marni Yang, 43, of killing Reuter and her unborn baby on Oct. 4, 2007. Prosecutors said Yang plotted to kill Reuter, the pregnant girlfriend of ex-Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle, to eliminate her as a romantic rival.

Yang received a life sentence for the murder, but Reuter’s family wanted a different kind of justice.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, Reuter’s family said their civil suit wasn’t about the money that the jury awarded, but about letting the world know just who Reuter really was.

Ted Woerthwein, the Reuter family’s attorney, acknowledged it’s unlikely the family will get all of the $40 million awarded by a Cook County jury on Wednesday.

“Well, we’re going to try, but I don’t think she’s worth $40 million,” Woerthwein said.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports

But the Reuter family believed that enduring the pain of civil trial was worth it – even after yang had been sentenced to life in prison in criminal court.

“Ultimately, most of that case was about Marni Yang, as it should be. This was about the loss the family had,” Reuter family attorney Christopher Stombaugh said. “Somebody needed to hear the story of who Rhoni Reuter really was; not just as somebody who was the girlfriend of somebody who was a famous athlete, but somebody who was just an incredible, wonderful, person.”

Reuter’s mother tearfully told the jury that she no longer wants to go to bed at night or get up in the morning, because the agony of her loss is never-ending.

“The mother broke down only once when she was on the stand, crying, but a number of the jurors broke down and were crying right along with her. So, yeah, there was a lot of pain,” Woerthwein said.

The $40 million judgment also removes the possibility that Marni Yang will ever profit financially from her crimes. For example, if she ever chose to write a book or take part in a film project about the murder, all of her proceeds would go to the Reuter family to pay the judgment.

  • Lyndia

    I know this beautiful woman is dead and my heart goes out to her family. The woman that did the killing is in jail for the rest of her life thus, good for her. I hopes she rots. However, I still feel like Gayle is really responsible for all of this. I understand that there is nothing that can be done to him, but well I guess, this is just a f222 up world. (I hopes his conscious kicks his a22 every night.)

    • Dave Russo

      You women are all alike. Why would Gayle have any blame at all? He did nothing. These stupid women should have made better boyfriend choices. There is nothig wrong with scoring as much tang as you can.

    • Toonces

      For sure Sean Gayle has some responsibility for this mess!!!! Nice to finally hear someone say it because it is the truth! It was lame how the media kept on portraying Yang’s photo as being as unattractive as possible, to garner public sympathy for Reuter and Gayle. Yang is as much a victim of Gayle as Reuter was!!!


    Cry me a river,Miss Rueter should have kept better company,and made better choices in life she might still be around,Mr. Gayle only had one thing on his mind,get as much booty as he could and make those babies like his other brothers do.

  • Pothead

    Stupid waste of time lawsuit. SHE’S DOING LIFE !

  • Toonces

    Right on, Pale Face! ^5!!!!! Of course, Rhoni Reuter didn’t deserve what happened to her, but she sure wasted a lot of her life hanging around for a player. There are at least a milllion other players like him in Chicago; the only appeal must have been his fame and $$$. Weird how neither the media nor the law isn’t holding him accountable for what happened at all!!!! ‘Boys will be boys’, right? I KNEW he was SO full of it when he said that he hadn’t been involved with Yang; there is NO WAY that Yang would have done what she did if he was not involved with her. It was a Crime of passion ALL THE WAY! If the Reuters want $S$, they should sue Shaun Gayle!

  • Beth

    Reuter may have been a wonderful person, but she was also incredibly stupid.

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