US teen on trial for mom’s death in Indonesia ‘petrified’
CHICAGO (AP) — A pregnant 19-year-old woman on trial in Indonesia for the death of her mother says she is innocent and “petrified” about her future.
Heather Mack told the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1C0FVMg ) in a series of interviews Tuesday that she loved her mother and had no reason to kill her. The remains of her mother, 62-year-old Sheila von Wiese-Mack, were found in a suitcase outside a resort in Bali where she and her daughter were staying in August.
Also on trial is Mack’s boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, who police say arrived in Bali shortly before the death. If convicted, Schaefer and Mack could face death by firing squad.
Mack, who is due to give birth April 1, said her fear was “more for my daughter than me.”
Mack said she contacted the Tribune by phone because her attorney in Indonesia isn’t being paid out of a $1.56 million trust fund left behind by her mother. In Chicago, Judge Neil Cohen ruled in January that $150,000 from the fund should go to Mack’s attorney but couldn’t be used for the boyfriend’s defense.
The Indonesian attorney has received one $50,000 payment, Mack said, but two more installments haven’t been paid. Cohen had said those payments shouldn’t be made until the attorney provides a billing statement explaining his services.
Prosecutors say Mack and Schaefer plotted to kill Mack’s mother because she didn’t endorse their relationship, and that Mack once proposed that Schaefer hire a hit man for $50,000. When asked by the Tribune about the hit-man allegation, Mack said she “can’t answer that.”
“I maintain that I am innocent of all charges against me related to the death of my mother,” Mack said. “I believe my lawyer, who has worked relentlessly on my behalf, will prove this in court.”
According to the indictment, von Wiese-Mack became angry during an argument over the hotel bill and scolded Schaefer using a racial slur. The indictment says Schaefer battered her with a fruit bowl handle, and then Mack helped put her mother’s body in a suitcase.
Mack and Schaefer hired a taxi, put the suitcase in the trunk and never came back after saying they were going back inside to check out, prosecutors said.
Trial proceedings continued Wednesday.