Heather Mack, accused of killing her mother in Bali, wants trust fund money to pay for defense

WLS logo
Friday, January 16, 2015
Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer on the first day of their murder trials in Bali, Indonesia.

BALI, Indonesia -- A Chicago-area teenager, on trial in Bali for allegedly killing her mother, wants trust fund money to pay for her defense.

Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, went on trial in Indonesia on Wednesday on charges of murdering Mack's mother last year on the resort island of Bali.

Mack's lawyer filed an emergency motion Thursday in Cook County court, asking for $150,000 from the trust fund, which is overseen by her uncle.

Mack and Schaefer were arrested in Bali last August after investigators found the badly beaten body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, stuffed inside a suitcase. The suitcase was found in the trunk of a taxi outside the St. Regis Bali Resort.

Prosecutors say the couple killed von Wiese-Mack because she did not approve of their relationship. They allege that Mack, who is now seven months' pregnant, once suggested that Schaefer hire someone to kill her mother for $50,000 before their visit to Bali. Mack earlier told investigators that Schaefer beat her mother during an argument, according to her lawyer.

Prosecutors have charged Mack and Schaefer with premeditated murder, which carries a possible death penalty. Mack and Schaefer said they understood the charges. They are to enter pleas when the trial resumes next week.

The couple is being tried separately at the Denpasar District Court on Bali. The judges and prosecutors are the same in both trials.

Mack and her mother arrived in Bali on Aug. 4 and stayed in Kuta before moving to the upscale St. Regis hotel in Nusa Dua, where they planned to stay until Aug. 14.

Schaefer arrived Aug. 12 and stayed at the same hotel in a room booked by Mack under her mother's name.

Prosecutors said that made Mack's mother angry and led to an argument in which von Wiese-Mack, who was white, scolded Schaefer, using a racial slur. Schaefer is black, as was Mack's father, James L. Mack, a highly regarded jazz and classical composer who died in 2006.

They said Schaefer then battered her with the iron grip of a fruit bowl.

Security camera video showed the victim earlier having an argument with Schaefer in the hotel lobby.

The indictment said the couple hired a taxi and placed the suitcase containing the body in the trunk and told the driver they were going to check out of the hotel and would return, but never did.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Report a Typo