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Woman who plotted her mother’s murder in Bali gets 26 years in US prison

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

A woman who plotted to kill her mother and then stuffed her body in a suitcase in Bali, Indonesia, in 2014 was sentenced Wednesday to 26 years in prison, federal prosecutors said.

Judge Matthew F. Kennelly of the U.S. District Court in Illinois sentenced the woman, Heather L. Mack, after she pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to kill a U.S. national.

The sentence, handed down in a Chicago courtroom, was just short of the 28 years requested by federal prosecutors, who had also recommended in a sentencing memo that Ms. Mack’s release be followed by five years of supervised release and that she pay restitution in excess of $260,000.

“This was a brutal and premeditated crime,” Judge Kennelly told the court on Wednesday, according to local media.

Ms. Mack’s case attracted international attention after she was accused of plotting to kill her mother, Sheila A. Von Wiese, the wealthy widow of a Chicago composer. Ms. Mack was convicted in Indonesia of death-related crimes, and she spent seven years in prison there before being released and returning to Chicago in 2021 to face federal charges.

Ms. Mack will be credited for the time she spent in prison in Chicago since November 2021, but not for the years she spent in prison in Indonesia, prosecutors said.

Ms. Mack’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment after the sentencing. Prosecutors declined to comment.

In 2014, when Ms. Mack was 18, she arranged for Tommy E. Schaefer, her then-boyfriend, to travel to Bali, according to prosecutors. After Mr. Schaefer arrived, prosecutors said, the couple exchanged text messages about how and when to murder Ms. Von Wiese.

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On Aug. 12, 2014, Mr. Schaefer went to a hotel room where Ms. Von Wiese was staying and beat her to death while Ms. Mack was present, according to prosecutors and court documents. The couple then tried to clean the room and stuffed Ms. Von Wiese’s body into a suitcase, according to court documents. The couple fled the hotel and left the suitcase with the body in a taxi, prosecutors said.

An autopsy found that Ms. Von Wiese’s cause of death was due to the force of the blunt force blows, which fractured her nasal bone and jaw, according to court documents.

Mr. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison and remains in prison in Indonesia.

Prosecutors said in the sentencing memo that Ms. Von Wiese feared Ms. Mack would one day kill her, and that police reports detailed a history of episodes in which Ms. Mack attacked her mother. Ms. Mack and Mr. Schaefer had been “extremely calculating about the murder” and had planned to receive money from Ms. Von Wiese’s estate after her death, according to court documents.

“The fact that Mack was the person responsible for planning and carrying out the murder of his own mother, and his lack of remorse, including his extensive efforts to cover up his crime, are terrifying and indicate that Mack is still capable of commits the most heinous acts. acts when she believes it is in her best interests,” prosecutors wrote. “Mack is devoid of empathy and remorse.”