Heather Mack was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the slaying

By Johnny Dodd
April 21, 2015 07:15 AM
Firdia Lisnawati/AP

Eight months after her mother’s bloodied body was discovered stuffed in a suitcase in the back of a taxi at an upscale resort in Bali, a panel of Indonesian judges found Heather Mack guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced her to 10 years in prison, her lawyer tells PEOPLE.

Meanwhile, Mack’s boyfriend Tommy Schaefer received 18 years in prison for the brutal slaying. The court was more lenient with Mack because she just gave birth. “Her newborn baby badly needs a mother’s love and breastfeeding,” the verdict read, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Mack, 19, and Schaefer, 21, were apprehended by police on Aug. 12, a day after the body of 62-year-old Sheila von Wiese-Mack was discovered at the St. Regis Bali resort by a taxi driver who became suspicious that the suitcase in his trunk was leaking blood.

The couple were eventually charged with premeditated murder. Mack gave birth to baby daughter Stella during the couple’s often-emotional trial, which began on Jan. 13.

Mack’s defense attorney told the judges that Schaefer killed von Wiese-Mack following an argument over Heather’s pregnancy and that no evidence exists to show that the couple planned the murder in advance. When the fight turned violent, the lawyer said, Mack hid in the bathroom of the hotel suite.

Female inmates are allowed to keep their newborn children with them at Bali’s Kerobokan Prison for the first two years of their lives. Mack hasn’t revealed exactly what her long-term plans are for the infant, but many have been critical of her decision to keep the child with her in her prison cell.

“I’m waiting to make that decision, and it’s overwhelming,” Mack tells PEOPLE. “If both parents are going to be in Bali, then I want to make sure my baby is here in Bali also, even though she might not be by my side 24 hours a day.”

Mack insists that she “thinks about her mother all the time” in her prison cell and is “often overwhelmed by sadness.” She says the emotions are so intense that “if I’m not careful I’ll slip into a dark hole that I can’t get out of and I can’t afford to do that because my baby needs me.”

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