Trial of Chicago Couple Charged in Bali Murder Proceeds - NBC Chicago

Trial of Chicago Couple Charged in Bali Murder Proceeds

Three-judge panel overruled defense arguments that indictment submitted by prosecutors had inaccuracies and should be annulled

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    Trial of Couple Charged in Bali Murder Proceeds

    An Indonesian court decided Monday to go ahead with the trials of an American couple charged with murdering the woman's mother while vacationing on the resort island of Bali last year. (Published Monday, Feb. 2, 2015)

    An Indonesian court decided Monday to go ahead with the trials of an American couple charged with murdering the woman's mother while vacationing on the resort island of Bali last year.

    The three-judge panel overruled defense arguments that the indictment submitted by prosecutors had inaccuracies and should be annulled. Hearings will resume Wednesday at Denpasar District Court in the provincial capital of Bali.

    "The indictment is fully qualified both formally and materially according to the law," said presiding judges Made Suweda. "Therefore, the defense objections are rejected."

    The badly beaten body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found in a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi outside an upscale hotel in August.

    Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, both from Chicago, are being tried separately with the same judges and prosecutors. They are charged with premeditated murder and face a maximum penalty of death by firing squad if found guilty.

    Their lawyers argued earlier that inaccuracies in the indictment could lead to multiple interpretations of the suspects' activities and the crime scene, raising questions of whether other people had entered the victim's room and killed her.

    They also objected to the citing of communications between the defendants on cellphones as evidence of premeditated murder, arguing that cellphone communications are prone to manipulation. Prosecutors have alleged that the couple sent text messages about their initial plan to disguise a murder as suicide on the beach.

    Both defendants sat quietly as the decision to proceed with the trials was read out by judges. Unlike previous hearings, Schaefer didn't shed tears.

    In their indictment, prosecutors said the couple plotted the murder because von Wiese-Mack did not endorse their relationship, and that Mack once suggested that Schaefer hire someone to kill her mother for $50,000 before their visit to Bali.

    It said that an argument over the hotel bill made Mack's mother angry and she scolded Schaefer, using a racial slur, and Schaefer then battered her with a fruit bowl handle.

    Mack, who is seven months' pregnant, helped stuff her mother's body in the suitcase by sitting on it to enable Schaefer to close it, the indictment said. They then hired a taxi and placed the suitcase in the trunk and told the driver they were going to check out of the hotel and would return, but never did.

    Complete Coverage: Bali Suitcase Murder

    04/21/15: Couple Found Guilty 

    04/14/15: Lawyers Seek Leniency for  Couple

    04/09/15: Prosecutors Insist Murder Was Planned

    03/31/15: Prosecutors Seek 18-Year Sentences

    03/27/15: Baby Stella Sick With Jaundice

    03/25/15: Baby Stella Rushed to Hospital: Report

    03/20/15: Mack "Ecstatic" to be a Mom, Lawyer Says

    03/19/15: Emails Show Concern Months Before Bali Slaying

    03/18/15: Mack's Baby Could Stay Behind Bars

    03/17/15: Heather Mack Gives Birth

    03/12/15: Schaefer Says von Wiese-Mack Attacked Him, Threatened Baby

    03/11/15: Mack Says Schaefer Killed Her Mother

    02/27/15: Teen Charged in Bali Murder is Suicidal, Attorney Says

    02/26/15: Bell Boy, Police Testify in Tommy Schaefer Trial

    02/06/15: Heather Mack Hospitalized

    02/04/15: Heather Mack: "I Loved My Mom"

    02/02/15: Trial of Chicago Couple Charged in Bali Murder Ordered to Proceed

    01/20/15: Judge Approves Release of $150K From Trust Fund

    01/16/15: Murder Suspect Sues Slain Mother's Estate to Pay For Defense

    01/14/15: Bali Suitcase Murder Trial Begins in Indonesia

    10/03/14: Suspect in Bali Suitcase Murder Says Slur Sparked Anger

    09/23/14: Lawyer: Unborn Child of Bali Murder Suspect is "Well-Formed"

    09/22/14: Lawyer Refutes Reports That Bali Murder Suspect Confessed

    09/19/14: Chicago Suspect Confesses in Bali Killing, Police Say

    08/27/14: Mother of Bali Murder Suspect Raises Money for Legal Defense

    08/26/14: Will of Chicago Woman Killed in Bali Filed in Court

    08/21/14: Police Say Disagreement Preceded Bali Suitcase Death

    08/20/14: Report: Chicago Woman Slain in Bali Received Over $800K

    08/20/14: Attorney: Couple Held in Bali Death Under Suicide Watch

    08/19/14: Police Reports Show History of Oak Park Teen Attacking Mom

    08/18/14: Pregnant Bali Murder Suspect Alleges Sexual Assault in Jail

    08/18/14: Body of Mom Slain in Bali En Route to U.S.

    08/16/14: Autopsy: Chicago Woman Killed in Bali Was Hit by "Blunt Object"

    08/16/14: Bali Murder Suspects Refuse to Cooperate, Police Say

    08/15/14: Teen Charged in Bali Murder May Be Pregnant

    08/15/14: Daughter, Boyfriend Charged With Murder in Bali Suitcase Killing

    08/14/14: Pair Held in Suitcase Death Have Had Psychiatric Examinations

    08/14/14: Bali Murder Suspect Hires Chicago Attorney

    08/13/14: Bali Murder Suspects Refuse to Cooperate: Police

    08/13/14: Chicago Tourist Killed, Stuffed in Suitcase in Indonesia



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