A judge in Cook County on Monday urged all parties involved in a legal battle over Heather Mack’s contested trust fund to wrap things up soon for the sake of Mack’s baby daughter, Stella.
Judge Neil Cohen said he did not want lawyers "eating up" the money for the child. He asked attorneys representing Mack, Stella and Mack’s uncle, William Wiese, to agree on a financial plan that provides for Stella now and in the future.
"I have to make sure that a child who has hurt nobody is given a fair shake," Cohen said.
According to lawyers close to the situation, progress was made Monday regarding the judge’s request.
Chicago-area native Mack, 19, was convicted in Indonesia in April for her role in the murder of her mother, Sheila von Wiese Mack, whose body was found beaten and stuffed in a suitcase outside a posh Bali resort last August. Mack was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, was also found guilty and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Sheila von Wiese Mack left behind a trust fund totaling more than $2 million, but the money became the focus of a legal battle in Cook County Court around the same time Mack was given permission to access the fund to pay for legal fees. Lawyers representing von Wiese Mack’s brother, William Wiese, raised objections. A special interim trustee was named to oversee the funds earlier this year.
Mack’s defense attorney in Indonesia, Ari Soenardi, is in the process of being paid the remainder of his $150,000 fee. The special interim trustee has since been granted his request to be relieved.
Indonesian prison officials are allowing the young mother to raise Stella behind bars for the next two years.
Schaefer’s mother, Kia Walker, attended Monday’s court hearing to support Stella.
"I would love to have custody, but I think Heather will give custody to an Indonesian," Walker told the court.