CHICAGO (CBS) — A three-judge panel in Indonesia has convicted and sentenced 19-year-old Heather Mack, of Chicago, and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, of killing Mack’s mother at an upscale resort in Bali, and stuffing the body in a suitcase.
Mack was sentenced to 10 years in prison, as the judges ruled she deserved leniency because she recently gave birth, and her baby daughter, Stella, needs her mother.READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Trial: Testimony Expected To Begin Tuesday
Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years, also receiving leniency from the judges, who said he showed remorse for his actions.
Prosecutors had argued Mack and Schaefer plotted to kill Mack’s mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, because she did not approve of their relationship.
Schaefer admitted beating von Wiese-Mack to death with a metal fruit bowl, but said he was acting in self-defense, when she tried to strangle him after the three argued about Mack’s pregnancy. Mack and Schaefer alleged von Wiese-Mack wanted her daughter to get an abortion, and threatened to harm the unborn child.
A judge described Schaefer’s actions as “sadistic,” but said his polite behavior in court, and remorse during the trial helped get him a lighter sentence. While prosecutors sought 15 years for Mack and 18 for Schaefer, the judges could have sentenced the couple to the maximum punishment for premeditated murder in Indonesia, death by firing squad.
The convictions and sentences for Mack and Schaefer come about eight months after von Wiese-Mack’s body was found stuffed inside a suitcase the couple abandoned outside a Bali resort, after they hailed a taxi, but left the suitcase with the driver, and ran away from the hotel. They were arrested a day later, and tried separately by the same three-judge panel.READ MORE: Weather: Slightly Warmer Day Ahead
They have one week to decide if they will appeal the verdict.
Mack will be allowed to live with her baby in prison until Stella is 2 years old. Mack has asked a Cook County judge to transfer one-third of her $1.5 million trust fund to Stella to help pay for her needs. Mack also had been allowed to access the trust fund to pay her legal bills, but likely will lose access in light of her conviction for killing her mother.
A longtime friend of von Wiese-Mack said he’s thoroughly disappointed with how short the sentences are for Mack and Schaefer.
“It really shocked me that, during the court trial, no one really seemed to grasp the idea that a person who stuffs your mom in a suitcase after such a brutal crime had any indication of remorse. It’s just astonishing to me the way the Indonesian court viewed all these things in coming up with this, what I thought was a very modest sentence,” Elliott Jacobson said.
One of Mack’s attorneys in Chicago, Michael Elkin, said he spoke to her on Tuesday, and asked her how she felt, and she told him she prayed, and said the following:
“Dear God, I know you don’t hear from me quite often, and I sometimes have acted like a jerk, but please have mercy on my soul and that of my daughter Stella, as I miss my mother and father so very much. Amen.”MORE NEWS: Woman With Concealed Carry Permit Shoots At Would-Be Gunpoint Carjacker In Roseland
Elkin also said the fact Mack was spared the death penalty is considered a win.