Heather Mack, the woman who killed her mother in Bali, will appear in court on Wednesday – NBC Chicago
Heather Mack, a Chicago woman who spent more than seven years in an Indonesian prison for killing her mother at a luxury resort on the island of Bali, is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday where her bail will be set.
Mack pleaded not guilty in Chicago court last week after being charged with conspiracy to murder in the United States and placed in federal custody. FBI agents arrested Mack, 26, upon his arrival at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport the same morning, according to the city’s US attorney’s office.
Brian Claypool, Mack’s attorney, said Wednesday’s hearing will focus on Mack’s bail.
“We are going to fight for a very low bond amount. We hope that this judge will not issue a bond,” he said. “Heather has been a model inmate for seven years. She was in jail, she was released earlier because she was such a good inmate. She is not a flight risk or a danger to society. Heather has no money and I’m sure she would be willing to give up her passport. If she had had to flee the country, she would have done so before coming back to Chicago, so Heather Mack does not represent a risk of leakage. ”
Mack was accused in the United States of conspiring with a former boyfriend to kill her socialite mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, in 2014 on the island of Bali, where they stuffed her body into a suitcase and the left in a taxi outside a hotel. Mack’s ex-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer was also convicted of murder in Indonesia and remains in jail there. Mack and Schaefer are also charged with obstructing justice in the three-count indictment.
Claypool said the federal charges were “clearly a witch hunt” in response to public pressure following Mack’s release from prison.
Speaking by phone from California last week, Claypool said he would ask the court to dismiss the new charges, arguing the plot was included in the charges Mack was convicted of in Indonesia.
“The US government had a choice to make in 2015,” he said. “They could have fought to extradite her (…) and try her in an American court. They did not do it.
The US Constitution prohibits prosecuting someone twice for the same acts, commonly referred to as dual criminality. But the allegations in Von Wiese-Mack’s death involve two countries with their own laws and jurisdiction claims, an expert said.
It is a federal crime to kill an American citizen abroad, said Barbara McQuade, a professor of law at the University of Michigan and a former American lawyer in Detroit.
“The US government is a different ruler from the Indonesian government,” she explained.
The United States must believe “that there is a substantial federal interest that was not justified by the previous case,” McQuade said. “I don’t know what all the reasons are. But it appears to be a very premeditated conspiracy. It could be the kind of thing where they say, ‘Seven years? It is simply not enough.
Mack’s daughter Stella Schaefer, 6, was on the plane with her mother, according to Claypool, who said the little girl was “excited” about her first trip to the United States. He declined to say who took custody of the girl when FBI agents took Mack away, but said she was not turned over to Child Protective Services. Court records show that a Cook County probate judge issued an emergency order on Tuesday appointing one of Mack’s attorneys, Vanessa Favia, as the girl’s guardian. Favia could not be reached for comment.
Schaefer’s mother said she was angry that she had not been granted custody of her granddaughter.
“Lawyers don’t need custody,” Kia Walker told reporters at the airport. “Stella has family here. She got me. I want my granddaughter. I want this madness to stop.
According to the indictment, Mack flew from Chicago to Indonesia on August 2, 2014, and Schaefer arrived on a flight from Chicago eight days later. On August 11, Schaefer communicated in messages with Robert Ryan Justin Bibbs in Chicago about “different ways to kill Von Weise”. ”
According to the indictment, the two men killed Von Weise-Mack on or around the same day, then stuffed the body into a suitcase and loaded it into the trunk of a taxi. He says Mack and Schaefer tried to cover up what they had done by “removing clothes worn during the murder.”
Von Weise-Mack’s severely beaten body was later discovered in the parked taxi at the upscale St. Regis Bali Resort.
In 2016, Bibbs, who was identified as a cousin of Schaefer, pleaded guilty to helping plan the murder in exchange for $ 50,000 of Mack’s expected inheritance. This cousin was sentenced the following year to nine years in prison. In 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported that court documents revealed that the FBI was investigating whether others were involved in the conspiracy.
According to the indictment, the murder “was part of the plot that Heather L. Mack and Tommy E. Schaefer hid, distorted and concealed.”
Mack was almost 19 and a few weeks pregnant at the time of the murder. She and Schaefer, then 21, were arrested a day later at a hotel about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the St. Regis.
The murder drew international attention, in part because the suitcase appeared to be too small to contain the body of an adult female. The couple were sentenced in 2015; Mack was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Schaefer to 18 years.
Indonesian officials announced in August that Mack would be released in October. She was released from jail on Friday and deported to the United States this week.