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Heather Mack, who was convicted of helping her boyfriend carry out her mother’s murder at an Indonesian resort in 2014, is set to be freed from prison at the end of the month, it was announced this week.
Mack, who spent years behind bars, will be released from Kerobokan Female Prison in Bali on Oct. 29, correctional officials confirmed, the Associated Press reported. She's expected to be deported to the United States upon her release.
Mack was arrested, along with her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, in 2014 for the murder of her mother, 62-year-old Sheila von Wiese-Mack, whose body was found inside a suitcase in a taxi cab near a Bali luxury resort. Investigators said Wiese-Mack was bludgeoned to death with a fruit bowl.
The American teenage couple was found guilty of premeditated murder in the gruesome hotel killing the following year. Mack, who was 18 at the time, was handed a 15-year prison sentence. Schaefer was slapped with an 18-year prison term and remains locked up.
The pair avoided the Indonesian court’s maximum penalty, which was executed by a firing squad. Prosecutors opted to seek prison time after Mack appeared in court with her infant child.
“The defendant has committed sadistic acts to her own mother,” chief prosecutor Eddy Arta Wijaya said in court during the trial, according to the Associated Press. “However, we’ve decided to be lenient because she repeatedly expressed remorse and has a newborn baby.”
Authorities later confirmed that police in Oak Park, Illinois had been called to the family’s home numerous times for domestic disturbances prior to the wealthy woman’s planned slaying at the resort island.
In 2016, Robert Bibbs, who is Schaefer’s cousin, also pleaded guilty to Wiese-Mack's killing, admitting he’d planned on accepting a $50,000 payout from Mack to execute her mother. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Mack publicly confessed to her mother's murder in a video clip she shared on YouTube in 2017. In the now-viral recording, Mack said she wasn't remorseful for plotting to end Wiese-Mack's life. She maintained she killed her mother for her own "freedom" — and not for an inheritance payout.
According to Indonesian prison officials, Mack received 34 months of sentence reductions, which is commonplace for foreigners, ABC News reported. She also had an additional six months shaved off her sentence, courtesy of the Indonesian government. Mack’s good behavior was also cited by correctional staff as another contributing factor in her early release.
“She has shown to be a good person, she was entitled to the sentence reduction,” Lili, the chief of Kerobokan Female Prison, who goes by a single name, told the AP. “She looked happy when she learned this ... and began to pack up excitedly.”
Mack’s release also means she can now legally reunite with her 6-year-old daughter, who is currently living with a foster family in Indonesia. Her defense attorney, Yulius Benyamin Seran, said his client hasn’t seen her daughter in approximately 20 months due to COVID-19 restrictions that were imposed at Indonesian detention centers during the pandemic.
Seran didn’t immediately respond to several requests for comment from Oxygen.com on Wednesday regarding his client’s approaching release.
Mack previously said she was apprehensive to return to Illinois after a decade behind bars overseas, particularly due to the media attention her case has brought over the years.
“I am fearful and nervous of returning to Chicago,” Mack told the New York Post this year. “I’m not worried about the idea that people cannot understand the tragedy for my sake. But I’m nervous for [my daughter] Stella. I’m scared that if she comes back to the States with me, she will be exposed to what happened.”
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