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Chicago Woman Pleads Guilty in Bali Murder Case

“Heather Mack, a Chicago woman, entered a guilty plea for conspiracy to kill her mother in an Illinois federal court on the 16th, aiming to avoid a potential life sentence as part of a plea agreement. The case stems from an incident in 2014 when Mack, accompanied by her boyfriend, took her mother to Bali, Indonesia for a trip but ended up killing her. The body was then concealed in a suitcase and abandoned.

In the legal proceedings, 27-year-old Mack pleaded guilty on the 16th for her involvement in the conspiracy to murder her mother, Sheila Von Wiese, in 2014. Court documents revealed that at the time, an 18-year-old Mack used her mother’s credit card to arrange a trip to Bali with her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer. Text messages between the two indicated their plot to kill Von Wiese. Schaefer fatally assaulted Von Wiese in their hotel room, while Mack, who was pregnant at the time, was present. After the crime, they fled the scene, leaving Von Wiese’s body in a taxi compartment inside a suitcase.

Following Von Wiese’s death, Mack promised to share her mother’s estate with Schaefer, saying, “I can’t wait to get rich,” to which he replied. Mack’s daughter is currently under the care of relatives.

Mack’s attorney, Michael Leonard, explained that in 2017, she was indicted on charges of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country and obstruction of justice, but both charges were dropped due to a plea deal she reached with prosecutors.

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Mack and Schaefer were previously tried and sentenced in Indonesia for the murder. Mack returned to Chicago in 2021 after serving seven years and is currently in custody. Schaefer, on the other hand, received an 18-year sentence in 2015 and remains in an Indonesian prison. It is worth noting that conspiracy to kill a U.S. citizen can carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Leonard, Mack’s lawyer, is hopeful that by pleading guilty and reaching an agreement with federal prosecutors, she may receive a maximum sentence of 28 years. The judge’s ruling on December 18 will determine the final sentence, though they are not obligated to abide by the agreed-upon terms.

When asked about Mack’s decision to accept the plea agreement, Leonard stated, “Certain charges in this case could have led to a life sentence. If the judge accepts our proposed cap of 28 years, it will undoubtedly reduce the risk.”

Leonard also mentioned that Mack had already served seven years in an Indonesian prison and believed her sentence should be reduced in the United States, but the prosecution did not agree.

Upon learning about the plea negotiations, Von Wiese’s relatives issued a statement expressing relief that Mack had pleaded guilty and their intention to seek justice for Sheila throughout the judicial process.”

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