In Indonesia, a 19-year-old mother has been spared the death penalty after beating her mother to death with a metal bowl.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Heather Mack planned her mother’s murder after she threatened her and demanded she had an abortion. Chief prosecutor on the case, Eddy Ara Wijaya, said, “The defendant has committed sadistic acts to her own mother. However, we’ve decided to be lenient because she repeatedly expressed remorse and has a newborn baby.”
The victim, Sheila Von Wiese-Mack, was killed at a high-end Bali resort hotel and stuffed in a suitcase. Mack’s boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, has also been charged in the murder of Wiese-Mack and prosecutors want him to be sentenced to 18-years in prison.
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However, Mack’s younger sister, Debbi Curran, is extremely disappointed with Indonesia’s criminal justice process and the prosecutor’s recommendation. She said, “The recommended sentence is a complete and total injustice for a premeditated murder charge. The evidence of premeditated murder is overwhelming. Our beloved Sheila was brutally murdered. We pray for justice for her.”
In 2014, ABC News reported that the Mack-Wiese family is incredibly wealthy and lived in a Chicago mansion for years before the murder. They also reported that Mack’s relationship with her mother had always been difficult and police had been called to their home 86-times over the past decade.
Now Mack is being held in Bali’s Kerobokan prison and her 15-day-old daughter is staying with her. Although this case is incredibly tragic, it is not uncommon for women to be pressured or even forced to have an abortion by their parents.
Elliot Institute director David Reardon, who co-authored a Medical Science Monitor study of American and Russian women with the 64 percent figure, said, “In many of the cases documented for our ‘Forced Abortion in America’ report, police and witnesses reported that acts of violence and murder took place after the woman refused to abort or because the attacker didn’t want the pregnancy.”
After arriving at court, it was Mack who held the baby when she and her boyfriend emerged from the prison van. They were led to separate holding cells and Mack sat at the rear of hers with her arms wrapped around the baby, who was covered in a white shawl. She was observed breastfeeding the baby under the garment. The child was then handed to Schaefer, who lowered his face to her head and began tenderly kissing his daughter.
‘He looked every part like the doting father,’ said a photographer. ‘It was the kind of scene you’d see anywhere in a playground for example – but he was behind bars. ‘It seemed a bit strange to be seeing something like that.’ Mack said she intended to continue breastfeeding for two years.
A woman looking after the couple claim they were not using the child as a way to sway judges’ feelings. The baby, due on April 1, was born on March 17 and had to be treated in the jail clinic and then in hospital after developing a high fever and jaundice. The child was later allowed to be taken back to the prison with her mother. The hearing will now move onto the next stage – when the argument is put forward by the defence.
It is estimated that it will be at least a month before the judges make the final decision on whether the pair are guilty. Mack is allowed to keep her baby with her in her cell – which she is sharing with eight other women – until the child is two years old. She revealed there was another prison baby, aged seven months, in a separate cell.