Heather Louis Mack inside a holding cell before a trial over the murder case of her mother, Sheila von Wiese Mack at Denpasar district court in Bali, on Jan. 14, 2015. (EPA Photo/Made Nagi)

US Couple May Face Long Sentences Over Bali Suitcase Murder

MARCH 31, 2015

Denpasar. Indonesian prosecutors on Tuesday recommended an American woman and her boyfriend spend 15 and 18 years respectively behind bars for the “sadistic” murder of the woman’s mother, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase on Bali.

Heather Mack, 19, and Tommy Schaefer, 21, are accused of the premeditated murder of Sheila von Wiese Mack, a charge that carries the death penalty in Indonesia.

However, prosecutors called for Heather Mack to be jailed for 15 years, saying she had admitted the crime and had a baby daughter. Mack brought the two-week-old, who is living with her in jail, to court on Tuesday.

“The defendant was sadistic to her own mother,” prosecutor Eddy Arta Wijaya told the court in the Balinese capital Denpasar.

Mack, who maintains her innocence, and Schaefer had been staying with the 62-year-old victim at the same hotel. They were arrested after they fled to another part of the island following the murder in August.

Schaefer confessed during a court appearance earlier this month to killing his girlfriend’s mother - but argued he acted in self-defense after she attacked him.

Prosecutors say he “blindly” hit Von Wiese Mack with a bowl in a fit of rage after she directed a racial slur at him during an argument. Schaefer is black.

In a separate trial on Tuesday, prosecutor Ni Luh Oka Ariani Adikarini said Schaefer was guilty of “deliberately plotting” to take his girlfriend’s mother’s life and recommended 18 years in jail.

The indictment said Mack hid in the bathroom during the attack before the couple stuffed the victim’s body in a suitcase.

No date has been set for the verdicts and sentencing. Judges do not have to follow prosecutors’ recommendations.

Agence France-Presse

Bali murder