Heather Mack seeks release from custody pending summer murder trial

Heather Mack, accused of conspiring to kill her mother, has been in federal custody since November 2021.

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Heather Mack holds her baby “Stella” inside holding cell while she was in custody in Indonesia in 2015.

Heather Mack, shown with her daughter Stella in a holding cell in Indonesia in 2015, isn’t a flight risk, her lawyers argued.

AFP via Getty Images

Heather Mack’s attorneys asked a federal judge to release her from jail while she awaits a summer trial on charges she conspired to kill her mother in what was dubbed the “Bali suitcase murder.”

The motion filed Monday with Judge Matthew Kennelly says Mack has been jailed in “extremely difficult COVID conditions.” The attorneys wrote she poses no flight risk, has no passport and no desire to travel. Mack volunteered to return to the U.S. to face the new charges upon finishing a “lengthy” seven-year sentence in Bali, her attorneys wrote.

Mack should also be released because she is not a threat, her attorneys said.

“Apart from the long-standing conflict that Ms. Mack had with her mother prior to her mother’s death, Ms. Mack had absolutely no record of presenting any danger to anyone,” her attorneys wrote.

Mack has remained in federal custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago since she arrived at O’Hare airport in November 2021, under indictment for conspiring to kill her mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, in 2014. Her body was discovered in a suitcase outside the St. Regis Bali Resort.

Tommy Schaefer, with whom Mack had a child, is serving an Indonesian prison sentence for von Wiese-Mack’s murder.

The motion filed Monday could complicate the custody battle for Mack’s 7-year-old daughter. Last week, a Cook County judge ordered Mack’s daughter, Estelle Schaefer, into the temporary care of a maternal cousin of Mack from Colorado. The order was against Mack’s own wishes. She had asked for her daughter to be cared for by her grandmother in the Rockford area.

Mack is set to go to trial in federal court in Chicago on July 31.

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