A Chicago man charged with murder overseas opened up in a Bali court Thursday. Tommy Schaefer, 21, said he attacked his girlfriend's mother after she threatened to kill the couple's unborn baby.
Schaefer and Heather Mack, 19, also from Chicago, are charged with murdering Sheila von Wiese-Mack.
The defendants are painting the victim as a disapproving mother who didn't agree with the couple's relationship. Schaefer testified that von Wiese-Mack became angry upon discovering Heather was pregnant. Schaefer said von Wiese-Mack used a racial slur and described her daughter as a prostitute.
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Schaefer admitted that Mack asked him to bring a metal bowl, just in case von Wiese-Mack reacted strongly to her daughter's pregnancy.
According to Schaefer, the situation got heated when von Wiese-Mack asked her daughter for an abortion or to kill the unborn baby. He said that led to a quarrel in which von Wiese-Mack tried hard to strangle him for about 30 seconds.
“I was angry, I took the fruit bowl and hit her,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer demonstrated how he hit von Wiese-Mack. A prosecutor also displayed the metal bowl handles alleged to be the murder weapon.
The victim's body was found stuffed in a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi last August.
Schaefer and Mack are being tried separately. But they are often handcuffed together and seen in the same temporary holding cell.
Mack maintains her innocence. She told her Chicago lawyer she may be scheduled to give birth by C-section Friday.
A man claiming to be Schaefer called NBC 5 Investigates and said “I’m a good person and I’m a normal guy. Life happens in ways that you don’t expect. Withhold judgment on me until the judges make their decision.”
The couple could face the death penalty if convicted.