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Heather Mack Pleads Guilty to Bali ‘Suitcase Murder’

An American woman has pleaded guilty to helping kill her mother and stuff her body in a suitcase during a luxury holiday at a resort in Bali in 2014.

Heather Mack, now 27, was convicted in Indonesia in 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released in 2021.

She was arrested immediately upon arriving in the US and charged with conspiracy to kill a US national and obstruction of justice.

Ms Mack now faces decades in prison.

In court documents, prosecutors said that the charges against her in the US do not violate rules against prosecuting someone twice for the same crime, partly because the US has charged her with conspiracy – which was not part of the Indonesian case.

She had originally pleaded not guilty to the charges when she was returned to the US in November 2021. 

A trial was due to begin on 1 August. Instead, she will be now sentenced on 18 December. The deal made for her change-of-plea calls for a sentence of up to 28 years. 

Ms Mack’s attorney told the New York Post that she decided to change her plea after a “good” deal was offered by prosecutors, who had originally been seeking a longer sentence

In Indonesia, Ms Mack had been convicted as an accessory to the murder of her mother, wealthy academic Sheila von Wiese-Mack, alongside her then-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer,

The pair were reportedly trying to gain access to a $1.5m (£1.17m) trust fund.

Indonesian prosecutors alleged that Ms Mack – who was just 18 at the time and pregnant – covered her mother’s mouth while Mr Schaefer struck her in the head with a fruit bowl. She was later discovered stuffed inside a suitcase. 

Mr Schaefer, who is also named in the US indictment, remains imprisoned in Indonesia. 

Some family members had argued that Ms Mack’s initial sentence in Indonesia was too lenient. At the time, the three-judge Indonesian panel said they handed down a lighter sentence because she had recently given birth to a baby.

Ms Mack reportedly had an extremely troubled relationship with her mother, with police frequently forced to respond to calls from the family’s Chicago home. 

After Wiese-Mack’s murder at the hotel, Ms Mack and Mr Schaefer left the suitcase with her remains in the boot of a taxi. The driver later alerted police. 

The couple was later discovered staying at another hotel in Bali.