Tommy Schaefer
Police escort suspect Schaffer while in custody at a holding cell at Bali police hospital in Denpasar Getty

US nationals Tommy Schaefer and girlfriend Heather Mack, who are being tried for the murder of a woman in Bali, have presented their defence at the Denpasar District Court in Indonesia.

Schaefer, 21, was charged last week with premeditated murder and Mack is charged with assisting her boyfriend in the killing of her mother, Chicago socialite Sheila von Wiese Mack, following an argument in August last year.

The couple, if found guilty, could be sentenced to death according to the stringent laws of the country.

Trial began on 14 August, 2014, when Schaefer and Mack who hail from Chicago, were arrested after the body of Mack's 62-year-old mother was found stuffed in a suitcase and loaded into a taxi outside the luxury St Regis Hotel.

Police claim that the pair plotted the murder following an argument between the mother and daughter over money. They are being tried separately at the Denpasar District Court in Bali.

In their defence, Schaefer and Mack have stated that the prosecutor's case lacked credible witnesses and it was unclear where the crime took place.

Reuters quoted a member of Schaefer's legal team as saying: "We object to the prosecutor's letter because it's not valid."

According to the couple's statement, evidence in the case was subjected to manipulation.

The three judges presiding over the case will decide on 28 January, whether the trial will proceed or whether it will be dismissed due to inadequate evidence.

Earlier on Tuesday, 20 January, a US court had allowed Mack, who is pregnant, access to $150,000 (£99,000) from her trust fund to pay for her legal bills in Bali.