Press reports last week that OPRF graduate Tommy Schaefer confessed to the murder or his girlfriend’s mother, Sheila von Weise Mack, are false, according to Schaefer’s lawyer.
The Associated Press and other news outlets reported last week that Bali Police Chief Col. Djoko Heru Utomo stated that Schaefer, 21, confessed during police interrogation to the murder of von Weise Mack, the mother of Heather Mack, 19, who also is being held by Bali Police as a suspect. The three were vacationing in Bali last month when von Weise Mack’s body was found stuffed in a suitcase outside of the luxury hotel where they were staying.
Schaefer is the son of Kia Walker, a Forest Park resident.
Thomas Anthony Durkin, a high-profile Chicago attorney who most recently represented state Rep. LaShawn Ford in his bank fraud case, told Wednesday Journal in a telephone interview that he has spoken with Schaefer, 21, over the last few weeks, but he has not traveled to Bali.
“He has not confessed, pure and simple,” Durkin said Monday in a telephone interview.
Durkin said he was contacted by Schaefer’s family about three weeks ago. He said he is Schaefer attorney, but he cannot represent him in court, presumably because he is not licensed to practice law in Indonesia.
Durkin said he is unsure how the information about the confession surfaced, but noted, “I’ve never been to Indonesia, so I don’t know how their relationship with the press works.”
Durkin said he is considering traveling to Bali to meet with his client, “But it’s too soon to say.”
He said the case is still at the police investigation stage.
Lawyers for Heather Mack could not be immediately reached for comment.
Utomo told the Associated Press last week, “[Schaefer] was hurt and offended by the victim’s words in an argument with him. That is the motive for the murder.”
Heather Mack separately confessed to helping Schaefer put von Weise Mack’s body in the suitcase, which was left with a taxi driver outside the hotel, according to the AP. Mack reportedly is three months pregnant.
The body was later discovered by Bali police when the suitcase was bought to a police station by the taxi driver. Police also have reported that Schaeffer’s fingerprints were found on an unidentified murder weapon.
Both Mack and Schaeffer could face the death penalty if convicted of the murder.