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Woman pleads guilty to conspiracy to murder her mother while on vacation

GLOBE AFRIQUE | Heather Mack, the woman called the “suitcase killer,” pleaded guilty in U.S. court for her conspiracy with her former boyfriend to murder her mother while they vacationed in Bali, Indonesia, back in August 2014.

Although Mack was sentenced to prison in Indonesia for killing her mother at an upscale hotel in Bali in 2014, she is also being sentenced in the U.S.

According to recent court documents, Heather Mack, 27, originally from Chicago, and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, conspired to kill Mack’s mother while Mack and her mother vacationed in Bali. Mack arranged for Schaefer to travel to Bali using her mother’s credit card. After Schaefer arrived, Mack and Schaefer exchanged a series of text messages about how and when to kill Mack’s mother, which included a discussion about suffocating or beating the victim. Shortly after these text messages were exchanged, on Aug. 12, 2014, Schaefer entered her mother’s hotel room and, while Mack was present, brutally beat and killed Mack’s mother. Mack and Schaefer then placed the victim’s body into a suitcase and tried to leave the hotel in a taxi. When the taxi driver refused to accept their fare, Mack told hotel employees that she would go call her mother. Mack and Schaefer then fled the hotel and abandoned the suitcase containing the victim’s body in the taxicab. Mack and Schaefer were arrested by Indonesian police at another hotel in Bali the day after the murder.

In 2015, Mack and Schaefer were convicted in Indonesia of local criminal charges related to the murder. Mack was sentenced to 10 years and released after serving seven years. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison and remains imprisoned in Indonesia. In November 2021, upon arrival in the United States, Mack was arrested on U.S. federal charges relating to the murder. Schaefer was also charged in the U.S. indictment, and those charges remain pending against him.

Mack pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to kill a U.S. national. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18 and faces a maximum penalty of 28 years. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Globe Afrique’s News Desk coordinates and analyses news stories from around the world as well as the gathering or distribution of news. Globe Afrique, a US-based institution, is Africa’s leading investigative media entity. The institution’s researchers, analysts, reporters, and contributors deeply investigate and report on a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. The institution, which sometimes spends weeks or months researching and preparing investigative reports, also researches into social and legal issues. Have a news tip, write to
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