‘Suitcase killer’ arrested after return to US from Bali prison

Midwest

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — A woman convicted of helping to kill her mother in Bali and stuffing the body into a suitcase was arrested upon her return to the Chicago area Wednesday.

Heather Mack, 26, was released from prison in Indonesia on Friday after serving seven years and two months of a 10-year sentence. Her then-boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, who was also convicted in the killing, was sentenced to 18 years and remains in prison.

Mack and Schaefer were indicted in the Northern District of Illinois with one count of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, one count of conspiracy to commit foreign murder of a U.S. national, and one count of obstruction.

Prosecutors say they conspired to split Sheila von Wiese-Mack’s $1.5 million estate.

Wiese-Mack’s badly beaten body was found in a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi parked at the upscale St. Regis Bali Resort in August 2014. Mack was almost 19 and a few weeks pregnant at the time of the killing. She and Schaefer, then 21, were arrested a day later at a hotel about 6 miles from the St. Regis.

At an arraignment Wednesday afternoon, Mack pleaded not guilty to the charges and U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle ordered that she remain in custody until a detention hearing Nov. 10.

Brian Claypool, Mack’s attorney, said Wednesday that the federal charges are “clearly a witch hunt” in response to public pressure after Mack’s release from prison.

Speaking by phone from California, Claypool said he will ask the court to throw out the new charges, arguing that conspiracy was included in the charges that Mack was convicted of in Indonesia.

“The U.S. government had a choice to make in 2015,” he said. “They could have fought to extradite … and try her in the U.S. court. They didn’t do that.”

Elliot Jacobson, a friend of the victim, joined NewsNation Prime to discuss the arrest and latest charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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