CHICAGO - It's a case that captured headlines more than ten years ago: the pregnant girlfriend of a former Chicago Bear was shot to death in her north suburban condo.
Now, one of the victim's best friends believes that the woman convicted of those murders, Marni Yang, is innocent.
On Dec. 17, a Lake County judge will decide whether there's enough new evidence to reopen the investigation into the murder of Rhoni Reuter and her unborn daughter, Skyler. One of Reuter's best friends will be in court and says she's changed her mind about the conviction.
"I wanted Marni to be guilty. And then I pored over the 700-page document,” said Michelle Ammentorp. "Marni didn't do this. I wanted Marni to be guilty, but she's not."
Ammentorp had been one of Reuter's best friends since college and says they talked often about Reuter's volatile relationship with former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle -- the father of Reuter's unborn child.
In 2007, Reuter was found shot to death in her Deerfield condo. In 2009, after a long investigation, police charged real estate broker Marni Yang with Reuter's murder. Yang had also been having a relationship with Gayle and a jury convicted her on the theory she committed the crime in a jealous rage over the baby.
"We had somebody who was guilty and we moved on,” Ammentorp said.
Yang has now spent nearly ten years behind bars. But last month, a team of lawyers and private investigators filed a 700-page motion detailing what they call new evidence showing Yang could not have been the killer, including a new ballistics analysis.
"The shooter had to be from five, five-ten to five-eleven [feet] tall. Marni was five feet tall. They found male DNA on bullets in the kitchen of Rhoni's home,” said lead investigator Steve Lapino.
"I found myself flipping through pages, flipping back, taking notes. Making timelines…It's an overabundance,” Ammentorp said.
The key piece of evidence was a secretly recorded confession by Yang. The new legal team says Yang actually knew she was being recorded and confessed to draw attention from her son, on whom investigators were focusing.
Ammentorp wears a diamond cross that belonged to Reuter and condemns Gayle for not speaking out about the case.
"At the end of the day he was not happy about this child. And this was her last chance. She desperately wanted to be a mother,” Ammentorp said.