No bail for woman charged in death of socialite mother

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FILE – Heather Mack of downtown Chicago, Illinois, is harassed by reporters as she arrives in court for her sentencing hearing at a district court in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, April 21, 2015. A judge denied bond terms on Thursday , Dec. 8, 2022, and releases Mack, who has been charged with conspiracy in the death of her wealthy mother while on a luxury vacation in Bali in 2014. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati, File)

AP

A judge on Thursday refused to relax bail conditions and release a Chicago woman accused of conspiracy in the 2014 death of her wealthy mother while on a luxury vacation in Bali.

The decision means Heather Mack, 27, remains in custody without bail pending a July trial in federal court in Chicago.

Mack was arrested in Chicago in November 2021 after serving more than seven years in an Indonesian prison for murder. The body of her socialite mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, was stuffed into a suitcase and left in a taxi outside a hotel on the island of Bali.

Although Mack was convicted in Indonesia, US prosecutors filed their own case, accusing her of conspiring with an ex-boyfriend before traveling to the islands in 2014.

Defense attorney Michael Leonard said Mack behaved well while in custody and would pose no risk to the public if bailed. But U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly refused to release her.

The von Wiese-Mack siblings testified that Mack was manipulative and that they feared for their safety.

In 2017, Robert Bibbs was sentenced to nine years in prison in the US for advising Mack and Tommy Schaefer about killing Mack’s mother. Their motive was apparently to inherit money from von Wiese-Mack, the widow of jazz and classical composer James L. Mack.

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Savage serves on the Corps for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists on local newsrooms to report on undercover issues.

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