Marni Yang is serving a life sentence at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Illinois, for the 2007 murder of Rhoni Reuter and her unborn child, but she hopes it won’t be for much longer.
In April, Yang filed an emergency petition, seeking to be released from prison in light of coronavirus. According to The Chicago Tribune, Yang claims she has asthma, Type 2 diabetes, and a compromised immune system, and that coming into contact with Covid-19 would be “life-threatening.”
As the outlet points out, the Logan Correctional Center has four reported cases of coronavirus among staff members.
In the petition, Yang’s attorneys write, “For almost a dozen years an innocent woman has languished behind bars for a crime she did not commit. Now with the onset of a pandemic of epic proportions, Marni faces life-threatening harm if exposed to COVID-19. How tragic would it be if this deadly disease ends her quest for justice?”
She Recently Claimed That She Did Not Commit the Murder
This is not the first time Yang has requested an early release. Last year, she filed papers that challenged her conviction.
In her 2011 trial, prosecutors cited a taped confession between Yang and a friend as a key piece of evidence to convict her. In the tape, Yang said, “I took the first shot. I remember screaming cause at that point I realized we are now at the point of no return. All she was doing was screaming until she went down, and then when she went down she took her foot and she took one good kick at me, got me in the shin.”
In last year’s filings, however, Yang said that she knew she was being recorded and “made a false admission to draw police attention away from her son.”
In fact, her lawyers say they have a tape in which Yang tells her father that she is going to make up evidence and falsely confess to the crime to ensure her children were not treated as suspects.
Her father tells The Chicago Tribune, “She says, ‘(Police) have been tormenting us, and it’s been going on for almost two years; we can’t stand it anymore,” he said. “She says, ‘I’m going to get in the car, drive and meet Christi, and make up a story that I committed the murder.’”
“She wasn’t thinking rationally,” he said. “She was trying to protect the kids.”
Yang’s Lawyers Claim They Have Debunked Evidence Used Against Her
Yang’s lawyers claim they have debunked other evidence that was used to charge Yang in 2011.
For starters, the prosecution claimed in trial that Yang owned a 9mm pistol. However, Yang’s lawyers say that gun was stolen five months before the crime.
On top of that, the murder weapon has never been found.
Attorney Jed Stone also tells The Chicago Tribune that the DNA found at the scene was not Yang’s, but that of an unidentified man. He has also argued that forensic testing proves that the attacker must have been taller than Yang, who is only five feet.
As the Chicago Sun-Times points out, there is also evidence that Yang answered a land-line call at her home at the time of the murder.
ABC News’ 20/20 interview with Yang will air tonight on ABC at 9pm ET/PT.