Cousin accused in Bali murder put on home incarceration at mother’s house
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The 24-year-old accused of aiding his cousin and Heather Mack in the sensational murder of a Chicago socialite in Bali was released Friday to his mother’s Chicago home.
Robert Bibbs’ mother, whose name was not released, declined to comment after a hearing at Chicago’s federal courthouse downtown.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles, the Chicago man held his hands behind his back as he listened to a federal magistrate explain the terms of his home incarceration.
For now, he’s confined to his mother’s home but is allowed to take online courses. He’s on electronic monitoring and can’t travel.
If he violates those conditions, he must pay $50,000, U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez said.
Bibbs is accused of knowing that Mack and his cousin, Tommy Schaefer, planned to kill Sheila von Wiese-Mack.
Schaefer and 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.
Prosecutors sought home incarceration as the “minimum” detention option.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bolling Haxall told the judge Bibbs is “a danger to the community,” citing text messages that showed Bibbs suggested to a friend who had lost her nanny job that they rob the family.
Separately, after an interview with an FBI agent, the agent heard a loud noise after leaving and allegedly saw Bibbs drag a woman out of his house, though no charges were filed.
And earlier this month, Chicago Police made contact for a separate domestic issue, but no charges were filed, Haxall said.
Bibbs’ attorney told the judge her client doesn’t have a criminal history.
The criminal complaint against Bibbs sheds new light on von Wiese-Mack’s slaying, including roughly five pages of text-message interactions between Schaefer and Mack in the moments before the killing, which they referred to in code as “saying hi.”
The typo-riddled messages quoted in court documents are filled with shorthand and emoji icons. They indicate Schaefer expected to become a millionaire as a result of von Wiese-Mack’s death through Mack’s inheritance.
Federal authorities 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 kill von Wiese-Mack in the next month.
Authorities have said Mack and her mother arrived for their vacation in Bali on Aug. 4, 2014. Bibbs allegedly told federal agents he knew Mack wanted to try to kill her mother there.
“[Mack] asked me for my advice,” Bibbs is quoted in the complaint as saying. “So I told her like, ‘if you would ever do something, 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.
Contributing: Jon Seidel