Trial in ex-Bear girlfriend murder to begin

March 1, 2011 5:06:03 PM PST
Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of the woman accused of killing the pregnant girlfriend of former Chicago Bears player Shaun Gayle.

Marni Yang is accused of carrying out a jealous rage against Rhoni Reuter back in 2007. Jury selection got under way Tuesday morning after the judge denied a motion from defense attorneys.

In court Tuesday morning, Judge Christopher Stride, citing other cases, said for a third time that Yang could not have her hair cut and colored and she can't wear makeup. Her attorneys said they do not want Yang to look like a "crazy woman."

Yang sat with little emotion wearing an aqua top and her long, graying hair pulled back. She wore glasses and no makeup.The judge said she was not "unkempt" or "disheveled" and could not be treated differently than other prisoners.

A crew of 50 jurors were brought into the courtroom. Judge Stride explained courtroom procedure, the obligation of a juror and that they would begin jury selection with a group of 12.

The judge and attorneys have an opportunty to question potential jurors about their ability to be fair, asking them if they knew about the murder. Several people said they had heard of the murder and knew of Gayle, who was on the Bears 1985 Super Bowl winning team.

At 4:30 p.m., only three jurors had been seated.

Lake County prosecutors say in 2007 Yang, wearing a disguise, shot and killed Reuter, who was more than six months pregnant. Several bullets entered her body, they said, two aimed at her womb.

Reuter was former Chicago Bears player Shaun Gayle's girlfriend.

Prosecutors allege that secret recordings between Yang and a friend, along with evidence from Yang's garbage, prove she methodically carried out the killing out of jealousy.

Yang has known Gayle for years, but their specific relationship has been disputed.

Yang's defense attorneys are saying Gayle had motive to kill Reuter because he wasn't happy about her pregnancy. Prosecutors say the suggestion alone is ridiculous and there's no evidence of Gayle's involvement.

Gayle is not expected to be present for jury selection. He will be in court at some point to testify for the prosecution.

Jury selection could wrap up by Wednesday.