Heather Mack, Tommy Schaefer found guilty, sentenced in Bali murder

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Mack, Schaefer sentenced in Bali murder
Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer were found guilty and sentenced to 10 and 18 years in prison, respectively, in the murder of her mother.

BALI, Indonesia (WLS) -- Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 21, were found guilty Tuesday in the murder of her mother, Sheila von Weise Mack.

Mack and Schaefer, who have a newborn daughter, Stella, were sentenced to 10 and 18 years in prison, respectively. Stella will stay in prison with her mother until she turns 2 years old.

"The issue, really, is the sentencing and her having not shown even an iota of remorse from the day she's been arrested until now," Elliott Jacobson, Mack family friend, said.

Mack grew up in an Oak Park mansion, which police said officers visited frequently when fights between Mack and her mother became vicious. The three were vacationing in Indonesia in August when von Weise-Mack's badly battered body was found in a suitcase loaded into a taxi outside a posh resort on the island of Bali. They were arrested a day later.

"It was clear to many of us that she was a troubled kid and the thing is, she graduated from troubled kid to criminal and then from criminal to convicted murderer," Jacobson said.

An Indonesia court convicted Mack and Schaefer of premeditated murder. They could have faced the firing squad, but instead were granted leniency because, the judges said, Mack has a newborn and Schaefer showed remorse.

"Her newborn baby badly needs a mother's love and breastfeeding," the verdict said.

"Although I do take full responsibility for my actions, I am not a murderer," Schaefer, who earlier admitted to beating von Weise-Mack said Monday.

Mack's Chicago-based attorney said the teenager prayed during her sentencing, releasing this statement from Mack, "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."

Von Weise-Mack, 62, was a prominent Chicago socialite who was married to classical composer James L. Mack, who died in 2006, and once worked for Studs Terkel. She reportedly did not approve of her daughter's relationship with Schaefer and was angry to learn of the pregnancy.

Mack and Schaefer were tried separately in the same court with the same judges and prosecutors. They each have one week to decide whether to appeal their sentences.