In the federal murder conspiracy case arising from the 2014 murder of her mother, whose bludgeoned body was discovered stuffed in a suitcase in the Bali resort where they had been vacationing, Heather Mack intends to enter a guilty plea.
When Mack, 27, arrived at O’Hare International Airport in 2021, the FBI detained her on the basis of a federal indictment that had been filed under seal in 2017. Mack, 27, had been found guilty in Indonesia of aiding her lover in the murder and had served nearly seven years of a 10-year sentence.
Trial on the matter had been scheduled for July. Prosecutors, however, declared that they had made “significant progress” in plea discussions and that Mack intended to enter a guilty plea in the case during a brief status hearing on Thursday.
The change of plea hearing was scheduled for June 15 by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly, who also waived all deadlines for pretrial motions.
Given the volume of the evidence against Mack and the possibility of a life sentence, it is not unexpected that her case was settled without a trial. Nothing about potential sentencing factors was revealed right away.
Mack, a native of Chicago, has entered a not guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and obstructing justice in connection with the murder of her mother, whose bludgeoned body was discovered in a suitcase outside the St. Regis resort in August 2014 and garnered months of headlines from around the world.
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Her lover at the time of the murder, Tommy Schaefer, who is currently detained in Bali, was also charged with the same offenses.
In order to access a $1.5 million trust fund established upon her father’s passing, Mack assisted Schaefer in killing her mother, according to a 2015 conviction Mack received in Indonesian courts. Mack received a 10-year prison term, but due to excellent behavior, he was released early.
Since the FBI detained her as she stepped off a Delta Air Lines flight at O’Hare’s Terminal 5 in November 2021, she has been detained without bail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Schaefer, who acknowledged to beating von Wiese-Mack to death, received an 18-year term and is still incarcerated abroad.
Robert Bibbs, Schaefer’s cousin, had already been accused of aiding in the murder scheme by federal authorities in Chicago. After looking through text messages discovered on Schaefer’s phone, the FBI discovered Bibbs’ participation.
In exchange for a portion of the anticipated multimillion-dollar estate, Bibbs, 32, instructed the defendants on how to carry out the murder, and he is currently serving a nine-year jail sentence in Michigan. In 2025, he will be eligible for parole.
After a protracted and contentious custody dispute in Cook County Circuit Court, Mack’s daughter, who is now 7 years old, has been placed with a relative in the United States.
Mack’s uncle Bill Wiese stated in a statement to the court that as recently as 2019, she threatened the life of a journalist who had told her he thought she was lying in a jailhouse interview. This was during a bond hearing for Mack in 2022. Wiese also claimed that Mack continues to be a danger to anyone who crosses her.
“You trust me not to come after you with a big pineapple knife or a fruit bowl when I get out on parole?” Heather reportedly said. said Wiese.
Although Weise and Debbi Curran said they had to appear in court to tell the truth about Mack, they also criticized the sensationalism and profiteering that had persisted in the years since their sister’s murder.
Weise remarked in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse lobby that “facing Heather at the hearing was one of the necessary steps for justice and healing for our entire family.”
In a petition to deny bond, however, the prosecution contended that Mack has a history of violent and erratic behavior brought on by mental health difficulties. They also described the severity of von Wiese-Mack’s murder, describing how Schaefer reportedly hit the victim while Mack covered her mother’s mouth with a hand in their hotel room.
Mack explained that she covered her mother’s mouth to ensure her death in a phone call that was recorded with Schaefer’s cousin, according to the prosecution, “because Schaefer would have been in even bigger trouble if (von Wiese-Mack) survived.”
Prosecutors stated in the motion that “these and other admissions indicate that Mack didn’t just conspire to kill her mother, but was directly involved in her murder.”
In support of her request for detention, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Marie Ursini stated that the prosecution was prepared to show a four-minute hotel surveillance video that reportedly shows Mack and her boyfriend attempting to load her mother’s body into a bloodied suitcase into a taxi.
Mack and Schaefer fled and checked into another hotel under fictitious names after the cab driver grew suspicious, but they were immediately apprehended.
However, Kennelly claimed there was no actual disagreement as to what took place and he didn’t need to examine the tape.
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