“Suitcase Killer” Heather Mack has pleaded guilty in a Chicago court to conspiring to murder her mother while vacationing in Bali in 2014.
Mack, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to kill a United States national. She will be sentenced on December 18 and faces 28 years in prison.
In 2015, Mack was found guilty by an Indonesian court of being an accessory to the murder of her mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack. Mack helped her then-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer gain access to Wiese-Mack’s room where he bludgeoned the Illinois native with a bowl of fruit.
His body was later found locked in a suitcase. At the time of the murder, Mack was 18 and pregnant. She spent seven years in prison in Indonesia before being deported in 2021 following her early release for good behavior.
Upon her return to the United States, she was arrested at O’Hare Airport and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Custody of her daughter, Stella, 7, was given to a maternal cousin from Colorado.
Authorities allege Mack committed the crime so she could gain control of his $1.5 million trust fund.
Earlier this month Heather Mack, 27, pictured here with her prison-born child, announced she was reaching a settlement with prosecutors in Illinois.
Mack and her former boyfriend – Stella’s father – were found guilty in 2015 of conspiring together to kill Mack’s mother, socialite Sheila von Wiese-Mack (with her left) at a luxury resort in Bali during of a family trip, then having her body stuffed in a suitcase (right)
Mack’s wealthy mother was married to the late James L. Mack, a renowned composer who died on a family trip to Greece in 2006 – was killed and packed in a suitcase before being left in a taxi on the island of bali.
Schaefer’s cousin, Robert Bibbs, is sentenced to nine years in prison in the United States for advising Mack and Schaefer on how to kill von Weise-Mack. Schaefer is still in prison in Indonesia.
Mack stood before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in orange prison gear and orange slippers as he questioned her before she was ready to enter a plea.
She spoke confidently and calmly when the judge asked her to waive her right to remain silent during the motion hearing. “Yes, your honor,” she replied from a podium.
After the judge explained the charge against her, Mack pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to kill a US national.
The judge set a December 18 sentencing date for Mack. His plea deal carries a maximum sentence of 28 years.
Talk to The New York Post earlier this month, Mack unveiled his intention to reach an agreement with prosecutors before his trial in the United States.
“We were offered a good plea. First it was 15 to 35 [years]; now they say zero to 25 years including time served,” Mack, who also had a sentence in Indonesia but was released early for good behavior, told the newspaper on Wednesday.
“I served almost ten years in prison. I felt like I had done my time, so I was ready for trial,’ the convicted felon added of her decision.
“Now, after sitting for so long, I know what I have to do.”
Mack’s attorney, Michael Leonard, agreed with his high-profile client’s assessment, but admitted he was unsure of the severity of Mack’s sentence.
“The hope is that the judge will seriously consider the time she has already served and all of the underlying circumstances of her life and her relationship with her mother,” Leonard said.
“Any federal criminal case requires a constant reassessment of risk and reward. Balance the risk in terms of potential penalty and try to minimize the risk to yourself.
That uncertainty, the lawyer said, is always preferable to the risk of taking the case to court – after prosecutors presented scripts showing how Schaefer encouraged Mack to suffocate his mother in her sleep during what were supposed to be relaxing vacation in Indonesia – a task she couldn’t bring herself to do.
In previous court statements, Mack claimed she hid in a bathroom days later at the Regis Hotel in Bali, when Schaefer bludgeoned her mother to death with a bowl of fruit.
So far she has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and obstruction of justice, but a plea change hearing is scheduled for June 15.