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US Couple Sentenced in Bali Suitcase Killing

  • Associated Press

U.S. citizens Heather Mack, left, and Tommy Schaefer sit in a prison bus at Denpasar court following their verdicts on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, April 21, 2015. Mack holds their child.

U.S. citizens Heather Mack, left, and Tommy Schaefer sit in a prison bus at Denpasar court following their verdicts on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, April 21, 2015. Mack holds their child.

An Indonesian court found an American couple guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced them to prison on Tuesday in the death of the woman's mother on the resort island of Bali.

The Denpasar District Court sentenced Tommy Schaefer to 18 years in prison and Heather Mack to 10 years for intentionally killing Sheila von Wiese-Mack while vacationing last August. The body was found in a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi at the St. Regis Bali Resort.

The three-judge panel said it decided to be lenient toward Mack, 19, because she recently gave birth to a baby.

The court ruled that Schaefer, 21, was guilty of battering von Wiese-Mack to death in a hotel room at the resort, and that Mack had helped with the Aug. 12 killing.

Schaefer and Mack, both from Chicago, were tried separately in the same court with the same judges and prosecutors.

Body in suitcase

They were arrested a day after the badly battered body of von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found in the suitcase.

The charge of premeditated murder carries a maximum penalty of death. Prosecutors had sought an 18-year jail term for Schaefer and a 15-year term for Mack.

Presiding Judge Made Suweda described Schaefer's deeds as sadistic, but said his politeness and an expression of remorse during the trial meant he did not receive a heavier sentence.

Schaefer testified at his trial that von Wiese-Mack was angry when she learned about her daughter's pregnancy and tried to strangle him, prompting him to strike her with metal fruit bowl.

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