Heather Mack, convicted of murdering her mother in Bali, plans to plead guilty in the US, lawyer says

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago woman charged with federal conspiracy in the 2014 murder of her mother on a luxury Bali vacation plans to plead guilty, her attorney said Thursday.

Details of any plea deals or potential penalties being discussed by Heather Mack and US prosecutors remain unclear. His attorney, Michael Leonard, said Mack’s defense has been negotiating with federal prosecutors “over the past few weeks” ahead of his trial, which is set to begin Aug. 1.

“We anticipate that the parties will be able to enter into a written plea agreement and proceed with a plea hearing change on June 15,” Leonard said in an email.

The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported that prosecutors also told a judge on Thursday that they expected Mack to plead guilty, but the parties were still negotiating.

A representative from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Mack was convicted in Indonesia in 2015 of being an accomplice to the murder of her mother, served seven years of her original 10-year sentence, then was deported to the United States with her then six-year-old daughter. The violent case drew international attention.

Sheila von Wiese-Mack’s body was found stuffed in a suitcase, which had been left in the trunk of a taxi. Mack, who was 19 and a few weeks pregnant, and her then-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer were arrested at a hotel about 10 miles from the hotel where her mother’s body was discovered.

Schaefer was convicted of murder and is still imprisoned in Indonesia.

Federal agents arrested Mack upon his arrival at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in November 2021 on US charges, accusing him of conspiring with his former boyfriend to kill his mother while vacationing in Bali.

Legal experts said the allegations involve two countries with their own laws and jurisdictions, which does not violate the US Constitution’s prohibition against prosecuting someone twice for the same acts.

U.S. prosecutors say text messages, surveillance videos and other evidence from the Indonesian cases show Mack and Schaefer planned the murder of von Wiese-Mack for months and cleaned his body and the bloody sheets from the hotel together.

According to a court document filed by U.S. prosecutors, a relative who visited Schaefer and Mack while they were awaiting trial in Indonesia later told authorities the couple said Schaefer hit von Wiese-Mack with a gun. bowl of fruit and that Mack had covered his mother’s mouth with his hand. .

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