Heather Mack, The "Suitcase Killer" who Murdered Mom for Trust Fund, Gets 26 Years in Prison

Mack and her boyfriend killed her mom during a luxury vacation in Bali, Indonesia

In a Chicago federal courtroom, Heather Mack, known as the "Suitcase Killer," received a 26-year prison sentence on Wednesday, almost a decade after her involvement in the brutal murder of her mother during a luxury vacation in Bali. Mack, 28, had conspired with her then-boyfriend in 2014 to kill Sheila von Wiese-Mack, aiming to gain access to a $1.5 million trust fund.

Heather Mack

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, orange slip-on shoes, and glasses, Mack remained nearly expressionless during the emotional victim impact statements from her family, who characterized her as a cold and calculating sociopath. However, she broke down when given the opportunity to speak, expressing remorse and accepting responsibility for the heinous crime.

The sentencing was delivered by US District Judge Matthew Kennelly, who labeled the crime as a brutal and premeditated act. Mack was also ordered to pay $262,708 in restitution and a $50,000 fine.

Mack had previously served seven years in Indonesia after being convicted in 2015 for her role in the murder. At the time, she was 18 and pregnant with her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer's child. The couple had attacked Wiese-Mack in a hotel room, with Schaefer beating her to death with a fruit bowl while Mack covered her mother's mouth to muffle her cries.

Mack and boyfriend

Mack's attorney estimates that she will spend approximately 20 years in prison, factoring in the credit for the time served in Indonesia. Federal prosecutors had recommended a 28-year sentence, while Mack's defense sought a 15-year term with credit for the seven years she spent in custody.

Kennelly emphasized that the victim, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, did not deserve to die, regardless of her parenting history. The court proceedings revealed that Mack and Schaefer had meticulously planned the murder for months, with the intention of inheriting the substantial trust fund.

Mack pleaded guilty in June to a single count of conspiracy to kill a US national. The crime occurred in August 2014 during a vacation at Bali's St. Regis resort. The couple, after bludgeoning von Wiese-Mack to death, stuffed her body into a small suitcase, attempting to conceal it in the trunk of a taxi. They were apprehended a few miles away after the taxi driver alerted the police.

Mack, who had previously served time in Indonesia for being an accessory to murder, was released in 2021 for good behavior and promptly deported to the US. Her daughter, Stella, born in an Indonesian jail, is now in the custody of a relative.

Tommy Schaefer, Mack's then-boyfriend, was convicted of murder in Indonesia and is currently serving an 18-year sentence. He faces charges in the same US indictment. Schaefer's mother, Kia Walker, was present in the courtroom for Mack's sentencing.