Bali Suitcase Murder Trial Begins in Indonesia - NBC Chicago

Bali Suitcase Murder Trial Begins in Indonesia

Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, both from Chicago, are charged with killing Sheila von Wiese-Mack and stuffing her body in a suitcase last August



    Bali Suitcase Murder Trial Begins in Indonesia

    An American couple went on trial in Indonesia on Wednesday on charges of murdering the woman's mother last year on the resort island of Bali. Chris Coffey reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015)

    An American couple went on trial in Indonesia on Wednesday on charges of murdering the woman's mother last year on the resort island of Bali.

    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.

    Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, both from Chicago, are being tried separately at the Denpasar District Court on Bali. The judges and prosecutors are the same in both trials.

    Prosecutors charged them 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.

    Mack earlier told investigators that Schaefer beat her mother during an argument, according to her lawyer.

    They were arrested on Aug. 13, a day after von Wiese-Mack's body was found in the taxi at the St. Regis Bali Resort.

    In the indictments, obtained by The Associated Press, prosecutors said the couple plotted the murder because von Wiese-Mack did not endorse their relationship.

    The prosecutors said 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 and her mother arrived in Bali on Aug. 4 and stayed in Kuta before moving to the 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.

    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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