After Sheila von Wiese-Mack was bludgeoned to death on the resort island of Bali, the feds say her convicted killer sent his cousin a text message.
“For some reason I don’t feel bad,” Tommy Schaefer wrote to Robert Ryan Justin Bibbs.
Bibbs, 24, allegedly tried to comfort his cousin. He told Schaefer that von Wiese-Mack “wasn’t a good person,” and “there wasn’t any positive energy released from her body.”
And roughly two minutes later, the Chicago man sent one more text — a joke about being “overlooked” for the U.S. men’s national basketball team.
That kind of callous disregard for human life is littered throughout a 29-page criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday after federal authorities arrested Bibbs in Chicago and identified him as a previously unknown player in von Wiese-Mack’s sensational murder.
Bibbs is the first person to be charged in the United States in the case.
Schaefer and Heather Mack, von Wiese-Mack’s 19-year-old daughter, have already been convicted in Indonesia of killing the Chicago socialite. Schaefer, 22, is serving an 18-year prison sentence for battering von Wiese-Mack to death. Mack is serving 10 years.
Now Bibbs could face life in prison if convicted of conspiring with the couple to commit the murder. He appeared briefly Wednesday in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez in Chicago. Wearing a faded “Coke” T-shirt, he glowered as he was led from the courtroom after Assistant U.S. Attorney Bolling Haxall told the judge about Bibbs’ potential punishment.
Bibbs’ family seemed taken aback when Haxall said Bibbs poses a “risk to the community.” Neither they nor Bibbs’ attorney would comment after court. The judge set a detention hearing for Friday.
The criminal complaint against Bibbs sheds new light on von Wiese-Mack’s slaying. It even includes roughly five pages of text-message interactions between Schaefer and Mack in the moments before the murder, which they referred to in code as “saying hi.”
The typo-riddled messages quoted in the document are filled with shorthand and emoji icons. It indicates Schaefer expected to become a millionaire off von Wiese-Mack’s death through Mack’s inheritance. The feds say Bibbs expected to profit, too.
On Feb. 4, 2014, Schaefer allegedly sent a Facebook message to a friend that read: “She asked me to find someone to kill her mom for 50k.” Then, on July 25, 2014, Schaefer allegedly texted Bibbs: “She’s really tryna knock her mom off.” About 90 minutes later, Schaefer allegedly texted Bibbs that “we gotta talk” about “Bukko bucks.”
That’s when the feds suspect Schaefer filled Bibbs in on the plot to murder von Wiese-Mack in the next month.
The feds have said Mack and her mother arrived for their vacation in Bali on Aug. 4, 2014. Bibbs told the feds he knew Mack wanted to attempt her mother’s murder there.
“[Mack] asked me for my advice [on how to kill the victim.],” Bibbs is quoted as saying in the complaint. “So I told her like, ‘if you would ever do something [to kill the victim], don’t get your hands dirty. . . . Don’t, don’t like grab a gun and shoot your mom.”
Authorities have said Schaefer arrived on the island Aug. 12. Mack allegedly told him in a text message they should wait until her mother “passes back out” before trying to kill her.
While waiting, Schaefer allegedly texted Bibbs and said an earlier attempt by Mack to kill her mother by overdose had failed. Bibbs allegedly suggested Schaefer try to drown her in the ocean or “go sit on her face wit a pillow then.”
Eventually, Schaefer texted Bibbs: “This is for you n—a. And the fam. One time. Here I go. Pray for me cuz.” Bibbs replied, “Done. It’s go time.”
When news finally broke that authorities had arrested Mack and Schaefer for von Wiese-Mack’s murder, Bibbs texted an unnamed individual that he felt “sick to my stomach.” He said there was “possible proof that could lead back to me,” and he mentioned the text messages.
The other person replied, “that doesn’t make you a murderer.”
Bibbs wrote simply: “Idk.”
The Sun-Times first reported about federal investigators’ interest in the Mack murder last month.