US woman in Indonesian prison 'not selling baby'

2015-06-14 13:23
Heather Mack, stands at the police district headquarters after she was brought in for questioning in relation to the death of her mother, in Bali, Indonesia. (Firdia Lisnawati, AP)

Heather Mack, stands at the police district headquarters after she was brought in for questioning in relation to the death of her mother, in Bali, Indonesia. (Firdia Lisnawati, AP)

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Chicago - An attorney for a Chicago woman convicted in Indonesia of killing her mother said on Friday that allegations made in a Chicago courtroom that the woman is selling her baby are false.

Heather Mack, aged 19, and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, aged 21, both from Chicago, were convicted in April of killing Sheila von Wiese-Mack, aged 62, while vacationing last August on the resort island of Bali. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison for battering the woman to death and Mack to 10 years for helping.

Mack gave birth to Stella, the couple's baby girl, in March, and has been caring for the baby in prison. An attorney for Mack said earlier this week that Mack may ask a local family to care for her.

'Smear campaign'

On Friday, Schaefer's mother, Kia Walker, told a Cook County judge presiding over a trust fund case that she fears the baby is being sold for $150 000, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Asked for proof, Walker told Judge Neil Cohen: "Would text messages and a confession be acceptable?" The judge encouraged her to hire an attorney.

Later, Walker declined to answer reporters' questions saying she feared she would not be quoted accurately. "No, I'd rather put it in a book," she said.

That prompted a reaction from Mack's attorney.

"The allegations of Heather selling Baby Stella for $150 000 are unequivocally 'not true,' but are nothing more than a smearing campaign of Heather's genuine concerns for Stella," Mack attorney Michael Elkin said in an email to The Associated Press. "The financial motives of Kia Walker are coming to light by her own admissions."

The trust fund case hinges on whether Mack is entitled to money her mother left her. If she loses the inheritance because of her criminal conviction, the money could go to her baby.

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

Prosecutors said Mack helped Schaefer stuff her mother's body into the suitcase by sitting on it to enable Schaefer to close it. They then placed the suitcase in the trunk of the taxi and told the driver they were going to check out of the hotel and would return, but never did, prosecutors said.

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