Bali murder: Defendents beg for mercy

Bali murder: Defendents beg for mercy
An Indonesian official (L) escorts U.S. couple Heather Mack (R) and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer (C) as they walk to court, at Kerobokan prison in Denpasar February 26, 2015.

Two Americans, Heather Lois Mack and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, begged for lighter sentences from judges in a trial regarding the death of Mack's mother, at the Denpasar District Court in Bali on Tuesday.

During the trial, the defendants' lawyers said the murder was not premeditated and was carried out amid panic and distress. The prosecutors are seeking 15 and 18 years' imprisonment for 19-year-old Mack and 21-year-old Schaefer, respectively.

"We ask the panel of judges to reject the prosecutors' demand. We hope the judge can decide and give a lighter, fair sentence," said Mack's lawyer, Ni Kadek Sri Novi Wirani. Novi said Mack did not deserve a 15-year prison term.

The legal team added that accusations that Mack had facilitated premeditated murder could not be proven during the trial.

"At that time, the defendant helped as she was frightened. [The incident] happened too fast, she panicked. There was no element of planning in the murder," Novi said.

The lawyers hoped the judge would consider that Mack had never been arrested before, had showed remorse at the incident and had just given birth to a baby girl.

Both Mack and Schaefer were charged under Article 340 of the Criminal Code on premeditated murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death. The couple, who recently had a baby girl, was charged with the murder of Mack's mother, Sheila Von Weise-Mack, in August last year.

The victim's body was found in a suitcase that had allegedly been placed in a taxi trunk by the young couple at the St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua on Aug. 12, where the three had been vacationing.

During the trial on March 12, Schaefer confessed he had killed Mack's mother. He told the court he was angry after the victim had threatened to kill his unborn baby and had strangled him for about half a minute.

Schaefer told the court that Mack's mother had not supported their relationship. He said Von Wiese-Mack was angry when she found out that Mack was pregnant.

The victim, he said, had insulted him using a racial slur and had called her daughter a prostitute. Schaefer said he could not remember how many times he had struck the victim.

In the indictment, prosecutors said Mack asked Schaefer to find a hit man to kill her mother before the incident took place.

In a separate trial on Tuesday, Schaefer's legal team also asked for a lighter sentence.

Andris requested the judges to consider that Schaefer had never committed a crime and had shown remorse over the murder.

"He also has a baby from Heather. He's still young and can reform himself," Andris said.

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