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Following on from an Indonesian court’s highly-controversial decision to convict two Jakarta Intercultural School teachers for child rape – even though medical evidence from a Singapore hospital shows the alleged crimes never happened - the Denpasar District Court in Bali has bizarrely found two Americans guilty of murdering Sheila von Wiese-Mack, the mother of one of the convicted.

Unlike the case in Jakarta, however, in which there has been an outpouring of sympathy for the hapless teachers Neil Bantleman and Ferdi Tjiong, the two killers of Sheila von Wiese-Mack have not received much sympathy.

Not surprising you might say. After all no one likes killers. Especially if they are the daughter and the boyfriend of the victim. And they pack the body into a suitcase before they make their escape.

However, did Heather Mack (19) and Tommy Schaefer (21) really murder Sheila von Wiese-Mack?

Here’s what the Denpasar District Court Judge Made Suweda has to say:

"Taking into account Chapter 340 of the criminal code and other related laws, (the panel) declared that the defendant Tommy Schaefer has been legally and convincingly guilty of committing premeditated murder."

But what actually happened according to the testimony of Heather Mack was that “Wiese-Mack, the widow of jazz and classical composer James L. Mack, who died in 2006, was angry when she found out her daughter was pregnant, and tried to strangle him, leading him to hit her with a metal fruit bowl.”

Huh? Is that really premeditated murder?

Sure sounds a lot more like manslaughter to me.

The fact that Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer botched their escape by stupidly cramming the body into a suitcase also strongly suggests that this killing was obviously NOT premeditated but a spontaneous event in which the defendant actually tried to protect himself albeit violently.

And if they had planned the killing of Wiese-Mack why hadn’t they made sure their passports were close at hand? (they had, in fact, given them to Wiese-Mack who put them in the hotel’s safety deposit box).

Let's face it: Heather Mack may be a bad egg. But not many kids plan to kill their mothers.

As it is, Heather Mack will spend up to 10 years in a Bali jail (probably less due to remissions).

But at least she has her baby to keep her company!





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