U.S. woman who assisted Bali ‘suitcase’ murder released from jail

By Wayan Sukarda and Sultan Anshori

BADUNG, Bali (Reuters) – An American woman jailed in 2015 with her boyfriend for murdering her mother and stuffing the remains in a suitcase on the Indonesian island of Bali was released from prison on Friday after serving a chunk of her 10-year sentence.

Swarmed by reporters, Heather Mack left Bali’s Kerobokan prison early on Friday. She did not say anything. Her lawyer, Yulius Benyamin Seran, who was not seen with Mack, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Arrested in 2014 in a case that captured global attention due to its grisly nature, Tommy Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years for premeditated murder, while Mack received a 10-year sentence for being an accessory to murder.

Kerobokan prison chief for women inmates Lili said on Friday that Mack was given a 34-month remission. She said Mack was religious and participated in fashion and dance activities in prison.

Lawyer Yulius told AFP in August that Mack would be deported back to the U.S. upon her release.

Mack and Schaefer’s case was investigated by Indonesian authorities for four months, along with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In 2015, Schaefer, then 21, said in court he had killed Sheila von Wiese-Mack in self-defence in the St. Regis Hotel in Bali after she attacked him in anger because she objected to the couple’s relationship.

Mack was 19 at the time of sentencing in 2015.

Von Wiese-Mack’s body was found at the hotel with bruises on her arms and broken fingers. Evidence submitted to court included CCTV footage showing Schaefer and Heather Mack speaking to a taxi driver after dropping the bloodied suitcase.

Mack and her mother had a troubled relationship and von Wiese-Mack had frequently reported that her daughter punched and bit her, according to police reports cited by Chicago media.

(Reporting by Wayan Sukarda and Sultan Anshori in Denpasar; Writing by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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