Heather Mack Murders Mother In Bali

Heather Mack is a killer who along with her boyfriend was convicted of the murder of her mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack in Bali

According to court documents Heather Mack and her mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack were on vacation in Bali when Heather would steal her mother’s credit card and pay for her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer to fly over to Bali

Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer would murder Sheila von Wiese-Mack using a blunt object, the woman would be dismembered and her body stuffed into a suitcase

Tommy Schaefer would admit to striking Sheila von Wiese-Mack with a metal object and that Heather Mack helped him to dispose of her body.

Heather Mack would be convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison in which she served seven years

Tommy Schaefer would be convicted and sentenced to eighteen years in prison

When Heather Mack arrived back in the United States after serving her time in a Bali prison she was arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder a US National. Heather would take a plea deal and upon sentencing faces between fifteen to twenty eight years in Federal Prison

  • Update Heather Mack was sentenced to 26 years in Federal Prison

Heather Mack Videos

Heather Mack Case

Heather Mack pleaded guilty on Friday in the U.S. to federal conspiracy charges in connection with the 2014 murder of her socialite mother, who was killed during a luxury family vacation in Bali and whose body was found stuffed into a suitcase, according to The New York Times, Associated Press and BBC.

Heather Mack, 27, and her now-former boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, were found guilty by an Indonesian court in 2015 of killing 62-year-old Sheila von Wiese-Mack.

Two years later, while imprisoned in Indonesia, Mack and Schaefer were charged by a U.S. Federal Court in Chicago on charges of conspiracy to kill Mack’s mother, and in 2017, Mack gave birth to the former pair’s daughter while behind bars.

In 2021, after serving seven years of her 10-year prison sentence in Indonesia, Mack was released early for good behavior, Mack’s U.S.-based attorney, Vanessa Favia, told PEOPLE at the time.

She was deported back to the U.S. and was arrested by the FBI at a Chicago airport. She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder on Friday, the AP reports.

Here are four things to know about the woman who was dubbed the “Suitcase Killer.”

  1. Heather Mack Helped Kill Socialite Mom — Then Stuffed Body in Suitcase

Mack and Schaefer were convicted of murder in the 2014 bludgeoning death of von Wiese-Mack, at an upscale hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

Mack had a tempestuous relationship with her mother, and the killing reportedly took place during a vicious early morning argument.

At the couple’s trial, Schaefer confessed to the killing and admitted to hitting von Wiese-Mack repeatedly with a metal fruit bowl.

He claimed that when von Wiese-Mack found out Mack was pregnant, she became very angry and threatened to kill the couple’s unborn baby — and tried to strangle Schaefer for nearly 30 seconds.

Mack has maintained she is innocent of the premeditated murder charge for which she was convicted. Her defense attorney argued at trial that when the fight between Mack’s mother and Schaefer turned violent, Mack hid in the hotel suite’s bathroom.

After the slaying, the couple stuffed von Wiese-Mack’s body in a suitcase and, hours later, they placed the suitcase in the trunk of a taxi before fleeing the hotel. The driver notified police after he spotted blood leaking from the luggage.

The Chicago couple reportedly faced possible execution by firing squad, but Mack was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years.

  1. Mack Described Relationship with Mom as ‘Complicated’

According to exclusive interviews with Mack and a family friend with PEOPLE in 2015, she and her mother were entangled in a dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship from which neither could break free.

“She never wanted to be separated from me, and yet she also hated everything about me,” Mack told PEOPLE in a jailhouse interview. “It was complicated.”

A family friend added, “It was like they were locked in an inescapable pattern, a gridlock. It’s such a sad story. It was like a disaster waiting to happen.”

Mack said her relationship with her mother rapidly deteriorated after the 2006 death of her father, the renowned musician and composer James Mack, who left behind a $1.5 million trust for his daughter.

Still, Mack said, “There was a lot of good in our relationship. I don’t know if I would describe us as friends, but we were close.”

According to Mack and the family friend, the mother and daughter also bonded over shoplifting expensive French cosmetics that von Wiese-Mack liked but never wanted to pay for — despite having plenty of money.

“We’d take thousands and thousands of dollars worth of makeup,” Mack said. “She’d tell me that nobody would expect a kid to do that and have me steal it while she distracted the clerk. … I wanted to make her happy, so I’d just do it.”

  1. Mack Gave Birth to a Daughter in Indonesian Prison, Who Lived With Her For 2 Years

Mack gave birth to a baby girl named Stella in 2015, shortly after she was convicted in her mother’s murder. Stella was allowed to live with Mack in her jail cell until she turned 2 years old, per Indonesian law.

“She is everything. She has taught me what love is,” Mack told PEOPLE during a jailhouse interview in 2015.

“She has given me a reason to want to live,” she said of Stella. “She’s given me a purpose each morning when I wake up. When Stella is awake, the days are good — I can’t have a breakdown. But at night when she’s asleep, it gets tough.”

In 2017, Mack was forced to give up Stella following her 2nd birthday. The girl was handed over to an Australian-Balinese caretaker — Oshar Putu Melody Suartama — who befriended Mack shortly after she was arrested.

  1. Mack’s Cousin Was Granted Temporary Custody of Daughter, Pending Trial in U.S.

Stella returned with Mack to the U.S. in November 2021, but was immediately placed under the care of Mack’s attorney Favia, following Mack’s arrest at a Chicago airport, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported.

According to the outlet, Favia relinquished custody of the girl after seven months, and Suartama traveled from Indonesia to take back temporary custody of the girl, only to be forced to give her up again in November 2022.

Since then, Stella, now 7, has been looked after by her mother’s maternal cousin, Lisa Hellman, in Colorado, ABC7 reports.


Heather Mack Federal Sentencing

Heather Mack was sentenced to 26 years in federal prison on Wednesday for conspiring with her boyfriend to kill her mother and hide her beaten body in a suitcase at a resort in Bali in 2014.

“This was a brutal and premeditated crime,” U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly said in handing down the sentence.

Mack, 28, of Oak Park, won’t get credit for the seven years she already served in prison in Indonesia for the beating death of her mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, before Mack was deported back to the U.S. in 2021, and arrested on additional federal charges.

“The world knew that justice was not served in Indonesia nine years ago. We are relieved that the court today gave Sheila the justice she so rightly deserves,” von Wiese-Mack’s brother, Bill Wiese, said after she was sentenced.

Federal sentencing laws require defendants to serve a minimum of 85% of their sentence before they are eligible for release. With credit for the more than two years she’s already served behind bars in the U.S., that means Mack could spend more than 19 additional years in prison.

In addition to Mack’s prison term, Kennelly ordered Mack to pay $262,708 in restitution to her mother’s estate, and a $50,000 fine.

“We certainly didn’t want her to continue to be incarcerated, but we’re cognizant of the laws here, and the facts underlying this case,” said defense attorney Mike Leonard. “She’s, as you saw, genuinely extremely remorseful about what happened.”

Mack pleaded guilty last June to one count of conspiracy to kill a U.S. national. While Mack was eligible for up to life in prison, if she had been sentenced to more than 28 years in prison, she would have been allowed to withdraw her guilty plea.

Under her plea agreement, Mack admitted to plotting with her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, to kill her mother while she and her mother were in Bali in 2014. Mack used her mother’s credit card to fly Schaefer to Bali, and let Schaefer into her mother’s hotel room as she slept, where Schaefer used the metal handle of a fruit bowl to beat von Wiese-Mack to death. Mack and Schaefer then concealed her mother’s body in a suitcase, and placed it in the trunk of a taxi, only to leave it there and run off when the taxi driver wouldn’t accept their fare

Before she was sentenced, Mack apologized for killing her mother, saying there was “No excuse for trying to harm her.”

While her own defense attorneys had argued Mack suffered emotional and physical abuse from her mother for years before the murder, she said, “It does not matter what my relationship was with my mother.”

Mack said, in part, that becoming a mother herself helped her understand her own mother.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard Heather apologize, and I did appreciate that,” her uncle said after she was sentenced.

In their written sentencing recommendation for Mack, federal prosecutors argued she plotted to kill her mother “after inflicting years of physical, emotional and financial abuse” on her, so that she and Schaefer could access more than $1 million from von Wiese-Mack’s estate.

Schaefer is still serving his 18-year prison sentence in Indonesia for killing von Wiese-Mack, and also has been indicted in the U.S. on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges, meaning he likely faces arrest when he is deported from Indonesia.

In seeking a sentence of 28 years for Mack, federal prosecutors described the murder as “vicious and brutal,” adding that in her final moments, von Wiese-Mack “was inhaling her own blood.”

“Ms. von Wiese died a painful death. She suffocated after repeated blows to her face fractured her nasal bone and her jaw bone, resulting in an obstructed airway,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Rangoussis said during Mack’s sentencing hearing.

He also said putting von Wiese-Mack’s body in a suitcase “was no easy task.”

Mack’s defense attorneys had sought leniency, asking for a sentence of 15 years, with credit for the 7 years she’d already served in Indonesia.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Steinback argued Mack was a victim of emotional and physical abuse from her mother for years before the murder.

“The government would have us believe that Heather Mack suddenly just grew up into a teenager and somewhere around 15 or 16 started, without provocation or any kind of reason, attacking her mother,” Steinback said. “It doesn’t strike people as unusual, that that just happened unprovoked? She chose to do this?”

In a victim impact statement at Mack’s sentencing on Wednesday, her uncle, Bill Wiese, said if it were up to him, Mack would spend the rest of her life in prison for her “morally reprehensible behavior.”

“You’ve never shown any remorse all of your actions since the murder,” he said. “Thank goodness neither of your grandparents are here to see this.”

Wiese said his sister, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, was ecstatic when she became a mother, and she worked to create a safe and positive environment for her daughter.

“Parenting is never perfect. I can’t imagine doing it alone after her husband Jim died,” Wiese told the court.

While Mack’s attorneys have said her mother abused her, they also have acknowledged the abuse went both ways. Wiese said his niece instigated the abuse.

“I feel terrible, because I could not stop this cycle of abuse,” he said.

Von Wiese-Mack’s sister, Debbi Curran, also provided a victim impact statement, which was read in court by her daughter, Lindsay Lococo. Curran said she is still haunted by horrific mental images of her sister’s murder.

“I can’t look at a suitcase without imagining my sister’s body bludgeoned and stuffed into it,” she said.

After enduring abuse at the hands of her daughter, Curran said her sister viewed her trip to Bali with Mack as the chance for “a new beginning for their relationship,” not aware that her daughter had been plotting for months to kill her

Prosecutors have argued that Mack has shown little remorse for killing her mother, and has even sought to profit from her crime by trying to sell her story to the media.

“Mack’s income potential is quite high. The story of her crime is world famous, and she has likely already entered into a media contract that is expected to earn Mack a significant amount of money. The money generated as a result of this heinous crime should go to the victim’s estate rather than the defendant,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing recommendation.

Mack’s attorneys asked the judge in her case to sentence her to the minimum of 15 years, with credit for those seven years she’s already served in prison in Indonesia.

Defense attorneys argued “it would clearly be a waste of public resources to pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars” to imprison Mack for any longer than the minimum sentence, and would further strain her relationship with her 8-year-old daughter, Stella, who was born while Mack was in prison.

“A limited sentence of incarceration for Ms. Mack will go a long way toward ensuring that Stella is not collaterally damaged. That is particularly the case where, as here, this Court could impose conditions such as house arrest or home detention upon Ms. Mack, which would still allow Ms. Mack and Stella to live and grow together in the closest and next best thing to a full mother/daughter relationship,” defense attorneys wrote.

At Mack’s sentencing hearing, Lisa Hellman, Stella’s court-appointed legal guardian, described the 8-year-old as “an empathetic, kind, and brave young girl.”

Hellman said Stella doesn’t want to speak to her mother after a therapist shared the truth about what Mack and Schaefer did to her grandmother.

“Stella does not want to be raised by Heather. Based on her history of abusive behavior, this would be detrimental to Stella’s well-being and development,” Hellman said.

When she addressed the court during sentencing, Mack said she’s not the same person she was 10 years ago, adding she loves and misses her mother, and wishes she could take away the pain she’s caused her family.

Kennelly said he would recommend the U.S. Bureau of Prisons send Mack to an institution where she can receive mental health support.

Defense attorney Leonard said Mack’s defense team has not decided whether they will request she serve her time in a prison in Illinois or in Colorado, where her daughter currently lives.


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