A Chicago man was sentenced to serve nine years in prison, and four years supervise for conspiring with his cousin and his cousin’s girlfriend to kill a U.S. citizen at an Indonesian resort in 2014.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Joel R. Levin of the Northern District of Illinois and Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson of the FBI’s Chicago Division made the announcement.
Robert Ryan Justin Bibbs, 26, of Chicago, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the Northern District of Illinois. On Dec. 13, 2016, Bibbs pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit the foreign murder of a U.S. national.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, in 2014, Bibbs’s cousin Tommy Schaefer informed Bibbs that Heather Mack, Schaefer’s girlfriend, had offered Schaefer approximately $50,000 to kill her mother, Sheila Von Wiese. In approximately late July or early August 2014, Mack told Bibbs that she wished her mother was dead and she asked Bibbs whether he knew someone who would kill her mother in exchange for money. Bibbs knew that Von Wiese was wealthy and that she and Mack were taking a vacation in Indonesia in early August 2014. Schaefer had conveyed to Bibbs that Mack was planning to kill her mother while they were overseas and that Schaefer intended to travel to Indonesia to join Mack.
According to the plea agreement, while Schaefer waited for his flight to depart O’Hare International Airport, he exchanged text messages with Bibbs, which Bibbs understood to mean that Von Wiese’s murder was imminent, that Schaefer expected to receive millions of dollars as a result of the murder, and that Schaefer would spend some of this money on Bibbs. According to the plea agreement, after Schaefer arrived in Bali, he informed Bibbs that Mack had unsuccessfully attempted to kill Von Wiese. Bibbs then provided advice to Schaefer via text message on alternative ways to kill Von Wiese, including by drowning or suffocation. In addition, Bibbs admitted that he counseled Schaefer that he should murder Von Wiese as long as no cameras were present, that he counseled Schaefer to be careful, and that he further encouraged his cousin to kill Von Wiese.
A short time later, Schaefer bludgeoned Von Wiese to death, then, with Mack, stuffed Von Wiese’s body into a suitcase, placed the suitcase into a taxi cab and fled the resort. Schaefer and Mack were subsequently arrested and convicted in Indonesian court, and are serving respective 18-year and 10-year sentences in prison.
Deputy Chief Hope Olds and Trial Attorney Christine Duey of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bolling Haxall of the Northern District of Illinois prosecuted the case. The FBI investigated the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter as well.