Where is Heather Mack now? Oak Park woman being held downtown Chicago; ex-boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, still in Indonesia
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Oak Park woman found guilty of playing a role in her mother's murder in Bali had bond denied again Thursday by a judge in Chicago.
Heather Mack's attorney asked a judge at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago's Loop to release her from custody until her next trial, but was denied.
It was a tense day in the courtroom. Mack was seen wiping away tears as her aunt emotionally begged the judge to keep her in prison. The judge decided she'll be kept apart from her 7-year-old daughter as this trial moves forward.
"It was difficult, but it's a process we have to go through," said Bill Weise, the brother of Sheila Von Weise.
He and his sister took the stand Thursday in hopes of keeping Heather Mack in prison for her mother's murder. Both siblings read statements to the judge stating their own safety concerns if Mack were to be released on bond ahead of her July trial.
"We really wanted to be here today to give our sister Sheila a voice," Weise said.
The judge agreed with Sheila's siblings, denying the motion for Mack's release despite her attorney claiming she was only a threat to her mother and not anyone else in public.
Mack has already served roughly eight years, seven of which were at an Indonesian prison, after her mother's body was found in a suitcase in Bali back in 2014. She and her then-boyfriend were already convicted of the brutal crime overseas.
"She's certainly struggling and it's hard when you're a younger person especially to be confined," said Mike Leonard, Heather Mack's attorney, "and I think the thing that makes it really hard is the absence of her daughter from her life."
Mack gave birth to her daughter, Stella, inside that Indonesian prison and raised her for two years there. As Mack awaits this new trial, a Cook County judge recently ordered Stella to stay with family in Colorado.
"Mandatorily, Heather is allowed to have access by phone to Stella but it's on a much more limited basis than before," Leonard said.
Now the trial will move forward with the defense set to argue the conspiracy aspect of the murder. They're planning to use claims from heather's ex-boyfriend who is still incarcerated overseas.
The trial is set for July 31 and attorneys on both sides said they expect it to last a couple of weeks.