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Ex-Bear Shaun Gayle says he had sex with Marni Yang night before killing

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

The night before his pregnant, long-time lover was gunned down in her Deerfield home, former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle had sex with the woman accused of pulling the trigger.

Testifying Tuesday, Gayle confirmed for the first time that he had a sexual relationship with Marni Yang, who’s charged with murdering 42-year-old Rhoni Reuter on Oct. 4, 2007.

And Gayle — who previously had described Yang only as a friend and business associate — acknowledged Yang visited his Chicago home barely 12 hours before Reuter was shot to death.

“Did the two of you have sex?” Lake County prosecutor Ari Fisz asked.

“Yes, that happened,” Gayle said tersely.

Though he typically worked with Yang on real estate deals since meeting her in 2005, Gayle said their relationship sometimes became sexual.

“From time to time, it would change into a personal relationship,” Gayle said, describing their sexual encounters as occurring “roughly two to three times in the course of a year.”

One of those encounters occurred the night before Reuter was slain, when Yang came to his home to discuss a “time-sensitive” real estate issue, Gayle said.

Yang picked up dinner on the way over and the two spent about two hours together — and had sex, said Gayle.

She left his home by 9:30 p.m., said Gayle, who testified Yang had visited his house 10 to 15 times from the time they met until Reuter was slain.

Prosecutors contend Yang fatally shot Reuter shortly before 8 a.m. the next morning because she was “obsessed” with Gayle and jealous of Reuter’s relationship with the ex-Bear.

Reuter was nearly seven months pregnant with Gayle’s unborn daughter when she was shot at least six times. Two of the bullets also struck her baby.

Gayle told jurors that he had been involved with Reuter since 1990, but said their relationship wasn’t exclusive.

Prosecutors contend Yang, now 43, took elaborate steps to keep track of Gayle’s relationships with Reuter and other women. That included stealing his e-mail passwords so she could check to see with whom Gale was corresponding, Fisz and co-counsel Patricia Fix said.

Yang’s 20-year-old daughter testified Tuesday that her mother had told her — without offering details — that she had gained access to Gayle’s e-mail accounts.

“She didn’t use the word access but she got into his e-mail,” Emily Yang testified.

Yang had talked to her about Gayle, complaining that “he was dating other women,” the younger Yang said.

Two friends also testified that Yang told them she was dating Gayle — and had bragged about monitoring his e-mail. Former co-worker Marguerite Zimmer said Yang claimed she swiped passwords Gayle had written in a notebook he kept near his home computer.

“When Shaun would go into the shower, she would take his passwords,” Zimmer said.

When questioned by Deerfield police for about 10 hours after Reuter’s death, Gayle said he told investigators about a suburban woman he previously had dated and had obtained an order of protection against in 2006.

Gayle said that woman had come to his home and harassed him in May 2006 after their breakup.

He also suspected her of writing two harassing letters to as many as 18 women he knew, Gayle testified. One of those letters — which included a list of women the writer claimed Gayle was dating — was found in Reuter’s purse after her slaying, authorities have said.

But prosecutors contend Yang actually wrote the letters to the women after obtaining their names from Gayle’s e-mail accounts.

Gayle knew the women targeted by the letters in a variety of different ways, his attorney said.

“Those were people Shaun had contact with over the years, some professionally, some personally, some incidentally,” said attorney Donna Rotunno, adding Yang “in her deluded mind, she believed he had relationships all of them, but he didn’t.”

Another friend told jurors Yang boasted of sending a harassing e-mail to a woman she believed was involved with Gayle, telling her that she and other women also had relationships with Gayle.

“She just said it was to deter other girls,” Julieann Fields said.

Reuter’s parents, two brothers and other relatives sat stonefaced in the Waukegan courtroom as Gayle testified for nearly two hours.

Yang, wearing her long, graying hair in a braid, and Gayle steadfastly avoided looking at each other while he was on the witness stand, except for when Gayle was asked if he saw Yang in the courtroom.

“I do,” Gayle replied icily, pointing across the courtroom to where she sat. “She is right there, wearing glasses.”

Following his testimony, Gayle was escorted out of the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies and left without speaking to the media.

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