By Timothy Mclaughlin
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chicago man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to his long-distance role in the 2014 murder of Sheila von Wiese-Mack, who was killed in Bali, Indonesia by her daughter's boyfriend and stuffed into a suitcase, prosecutors said.
Robert Bibbs, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit the foreign murder of a U.S. national, according to a statement from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Under terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors and Bibbs' legal counsel have agreed the maximum sentence will be no more than 20 years, but U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer will impose the sentence on March 23, 2017, prosecutors said.
Bibbs' attorney, Donna Hickstein-Foley, declined to comment on Tuesday.
Bibbs advised his cousin, Tommy Schaefer, and Schaefer's girlfriend, Heather Mack, by text message on how to kill von Wiese-Mack, 62, in the hope of sharing in an inheritance, prosecutors said. Von Wiese-Mack was bludgeoned to death in her hotel room.
Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison for premeditated murder. Mack, who has had a baby girl in prison, is serving 10 years for being an accessory to murder.
Bibbs acknowledged in his plea agreement that he was aware of the plot to commit the murder and counseled Schaefer on how to get away with it, prosecutors said. The idea was Schaefer would gain access to the estate through Mack, and share that with Bibbs.
Mack and her mother, who had a troubled relationship, had traveled together to Bali in August 2014 and were staying at a luxury hotel, the St. Regis Bali resort. Schaefer joined them, surprising von Wiese-Mack, who did not know he was coming to Indonesia.
Schaefer subsequently sent a text message to Bibbs in the United States and the two discussed killing the mother,with Bibbs suggesting drowning her or sitting on her face with a pillow to suffocate her, prosecutors said.
Later in the day, Schaefer bludgeoned von Wiese-Mack to death, and Schaefer and Mack stuffed her body in a suitcase and placed it in a taxi cab.
Schaefer and Mack were arrested the following day and convicted in April 2015 in Indonesia for their roles in the murder. Bibbs was arrested in the United States in September 2015.
(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Alistair Bell)