An American woman convicted of helping to kill her mother in Bali in 2014, was finally released from prison on Friday (29/10), after serving seven years on a 10-year charge.
He was immediately deported to the United States.
The murder case caught the eye when the body of wealthy Chicago socialite Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found in the trunk of a taxi parked in St. Regis Bali Resort in August 2014. The body was found in a battered condition.
Heather Mack, her daughter, then almost 19 years old and a few weeks pregnant, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, then 21, were arrested a day later after they were found in a hotel about 10 kilometers from the resort.
Police said the hotel’s CCTV camera footage showed the couple arguing fiercely with Sheila von Wiese-Mack in the hotel lobby shortly before the murder, which allegedly took place in a hotel room.
An Indonesian court sentenced Mack to 10 years in prison for assisting Schaefer in the murder of his mother and putting her body in a suitcase. Schaefer himself received a sentence of 18 years in prison.
Their daughter, Stella Schaefer, was born shortly before her parents were convicted in 2015.
Under Indonesian law, she is allowed to live with her mother in her cell at the Kerobokan women’s prison until she is 2 years old.
Mack then gave custody of his young daughter to an Australian woman until she was released from prison.
Mack and his mother have a bad relationship. Police had been called dozens of times to the family’s home in Oak Park, Illinois.
In 2016, Robert Bibbs, Schaefer’s cousin, pleaded guilty to helping plan the murder in exchange for the $50,000 that Mack hoped to inherit. Bibbs was sentenced to nine years in prison the following year.
Mack, now 26, was herded through a crowd of journalists outside the Kerobokan Women’s Prison in Denpasar into a car that took him to the immigration office near Bali’s international airport on Friday morning.
Wearing a mask, sunglasses and the usual orange vest worn on people who are about to be deported by immigration authorities, he did not comment to reporters who surrounded him. He only had time to say, “Oh my God… you guys are crazy” through the window of the car that was carrying him.
Some of Mack’s friends were seen welcoming him outside the prison, including Oshar Putu Melody Suartama, an Australian woman married to a Balinese man who raised Stella.
Mack’s sentence was shortened by 34 months due to the frequent remissions given to detainees during major holidays in return for their good behavior, including the six-month remission of sentences given on the anniversary of Indonesia’s Independence Day.
Mack was then placed in a detention room at the immigration office while waiting for a flight to the US.
After his release, according to Indonesian law, Mack could be reunited with his daughter, who is now 6 years old.
But Mack’s lawyer, Yulius Benyamin Seran, said earlier that Mack had asked Indonesian authorities to let his son remain with his adoptive family to avoid the media spotlight.
Mack has not seen the little girl for about 20 months as authorities halted prison visits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under Indonesian law, foreigners who are deported will be denied entry to Indonesia for up to a maximum of six months. [ab/uh]