Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Chicago Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Murder U.S. Citizen in Bali, Indonesia

A Chicago man pleaded guilty today to conspiring with his cousin and his cousin’s girlfriend to kill a U.S. citizen at an Indonesian resort in 2014.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon 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, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit the foreign murder of a U.S. national before U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the Northern District of Illinois, who set sentencing for March 23, 2017.

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 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 texted Bibbs, “In about a year or so I’ll have all that money . . . Not all of it . . . A couple mil prob.”  Bibbs understood this 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 he would share some of this money with 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 texted Schaefer alternative ways to kill Von Wiese, including by drowning her.  A short time later, Schaefer texted Bibbs that, “She wants me to right now . . . While she snoozing,” which Bibbs understood to mean that Mack asked Schaefer to help her kill her mother while Von Wiese was asleep.  In response, Bibbs texted Schaefer, “Go sit on her face wit a pillow then,” suggesting that Schaefer should suffocate Von Wiese.

In addition, Bibbs admitted that Schaefer then texted asking what Bibbs would do, to which Bibbs replied that Schaefer should murder Von Wiese as long as no cameras were present.  Bibbs also counseled Schaefer to be careful and 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- and 10-year sentences in prison.   

The FBI investigated the case.  Trial Attorneys Hope Olds and 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 are prosecuting the case.  

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