Heather Mack, a 27 year-old American woman, moved from grief to closure on Friday after she made a conviction plea in Chicago federal court regarding her role in her mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack’s untimely death nine years prior.
According to court documents, Mack and her then-boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, had planned to gain access to Wiese-Mack’s substantial $1.5 million trust fund by murdering her during a family vacation in Bali. On the day of the murder, Mack, who was pregnant and 18 years old at the time, allegedly aided Schaefer in the crime by placing her hand over Wiese-Mack’s mouth while he bludgeoned her with a fruit bowl.
After a clear and concise exchange with District Judge Matthew Kennelly, Mack pleaded guilty on one count of conspiracy to kill a U.S. National. After a sentencing date of December 18th was set, she will face a penalty of no more than 28 years in prison.
Mack had already served a seven year sentence of her original ten year sentence imposed in Indonesia before being deported back to the U.S. in 2021. Upon arrival at O’Hare International Airport she was arrested in the company of her six year-old daughter whom she had with Schaefer.
The daughter was soon placed with a relative during a custody dispute. Even though Schaefer was found guilty of murder and is still residing in Indonesia, he is being charged the same U.S. indictment as Mack and prosecutors were able to effectively argue against her bond.
The media took quick notice of the case after images of the suitcase Mack and Schaefer had tried to put Wiese-Mack’s body into circulated. This suitcase seemed far too small for an adult’s body and despite some complaints from family members, the sentence handed down in Indonesia was seen as too lenient by many.
In court filings, prosecutors later argued that the U.S. charges, which include allegations of conspiring and other behaviors that were not addressed in the Indonesian case, would not violate constitutional prohibitions against double-prosecution.
Mack’s guilty plea has brought to a close an emotionally heavy story that grabbed the public’s attention nine years ago. Sentencing is scheduled for December 2023 and Heather Mack stands to receive a sentence of no more than 28 years in prison.