Not guilty plea in killing of ex-Bear's girlfriend

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) " A woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to fatally shooting the pregnant girlfriend of former Chicago Bears Pro-Bowl safety Shaun Gayle.

Marni Yang, 41, of Chicago, is charged with nine counts of first-degree murder and three counts of intentional homicide of an unborn child in the shooting death of Rhoni Reuter, who was seven months pregnant.

Reuter was shot seven times at her apartment in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield during a jealous rage in October 2007, Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix said.

Gayle has said he considered Yang a friend and the two never dated, but Fix said Yang was jealous of Reuter's relationship with Gayle.

Prosecutors have said Yang tried to cover her steps by ditching stolen license plates on the car driven to and from the crime scene and by disposing of the gun in a bucket of wet cement. They also said she told a friend she planned to kill Reuter and later admitted to the shooting.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Lerner said Yang was "going to vigorously defend herself."

Gayle, a former Pro-Bowler and member of the Bears' 1985 Super Bowl-winning team, and several members of Reuter's family attended the hearing Wednesday but declined to speak to reporters.

Yang faces a life sentence if convicted of the murder charges. Intentional homicide of an unborn child carries a sentence of up to 60 years in prison, though prosecutors are seeking an additional 25 years to life in prison because a firearm was used.

Yang was being held without bail at the Lake County Jail, and a hearing was scheduled for May 13.


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