Rhoni Reuter, the pregnant girlfriend of former Chicago Bears player Shaun Gayle, who was gunned down in her Deerfield, Illinois, condo more than 10 years ago, will be the case profiled on the latest Scorned: Love Kills. The Investigation Discovery TV series focuses on three-way love triangles that end in murder. Tonight’s Scorned episode is called “Bear Down,” and it will focus on the lavish life of a pro ball player who plays the field just one time too many, and how his many affairs will have devastating consequences for his longtime pregnant girlfriend.
Rhoni Reuter was found dead in her condominium in Deerfield, Illinois, in 2007. 911 had dispatched officers to the scene after a neighbor reported hearing screams. When they entered the residence, they found 42-year old Rhoni Reuter dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the body, according to Illinois court records.
“Paramedics found Reuter lying face-down on her kitchen floor. They could not revive her. She had been shot seven times. Reuter sustained a single bullet wound to the back of the head, which was the immediate cause of death. Two bullets struck Reuter’s abdomen, killing the child. Reuter also had two bullet wounds in her arms, which, according to the pathologist, occurred when Reuter tried unsuccessfully to shield her abdomen. Spent 9-mm casings, as well as five unfired rounds, surrounded the body.”
The first person that detectives needed to speak with was her longtime boyfriend, Shaun Gayle. Gayle was shocked and devastated to learn that Rhoni and his baby had been murdered. He told police that he had recently obtained a restraining order from a former girlfriend for stalking. Police looked into that angle, but the former girlfriend, a polish beauty named Sasha (Sascha), had an alibi.
As detectives sifted through Shaun Gayle’s background, they found a slew of women who may have had an ax to grind. But one solid tip led them to a rental car that was traced back to a woman named Mari Yang, an alleged real estate broker whom Gayle had been seeing on the side. Rhoni Reuter had a 17-year relationship with Shaun Gayle.
During the first decade of their relationship, she knew that he was cheating with many other beautiful women. But as the years passed, she wanted exclusivity, especially since she had become pregnant with their first child. Shaun Gayle also reassured her that he was ready to move forward with her in a real way, though that way was never made public.
What Rhoni Reuter may not have known was that the night before her death, the love of her life was having sex with a crazed woman who was willing to do anything to keep him. According to Marni Yang, she disguised herself as a black teen with cornrow braids, then knocked on the front door. When Rhoni answered, she shot her until she was dead. After the murder, she took the gun and dipped it in cement, before discarding it in the dump. The details of the murder were heard on tape, as Marni described it to her friend, Christi Paschen, who agreed to lure Marni into a confession while wearing a wire. In the tape, Marni stated that she was sure that the murder could never be traced back to her. She was wrong. Marni was taken into custody and charged with the killings.
According to Marni Yang’s friend of 20 years, she didn’t think Marni was serious about killing Rhoni. The Illinois court record reads this way.
“Paschen testified that, on October 3, 2007, the night before the murder, defendant slept over at her house. Defendant asked Paschen to read tarot cards to determine whether she would be successful in killing Reuter. Defendant drew a card that indicated achievement of a goal. Defendant told Paschen that, if she killed Reuter, she would call Paschen on the phone and deliver a coded message. The code would be asking Paschen to dinner. Paschen did not take defendant’s plan seriously enough to call the police. When Paschen woke up the next morning, defendant was gone.”
Still, those who examine this case can’t help but think that if Marni’s friend, Christi Paschen, had gone to the police, or even better, if she had never met Shaun Gayle, Reuter would most likely still be alive today. Currently, Marni Yang is serving two life sentences for the murder of Rhoni Reuter and her unborn baby.
Watch the Rhoni Reuter, Shaun Gayle case on Scorned: Love Kills tonight at 10/9 p.m. central on Investigation Discovery (ID).
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