Sheila von Wiese-Mack’s siblings said they would’ve looked forward to visiting her in Chicago for her 65th birthday this month, enjoying the warm June weather, strolling along the lakefront, talking about music and art and laughing.

Instead, they sat in a stark federal courtroom Friday, holding each other and crying as Robert Bibbs, a South Side man convicted of helping plot their sister’s brutal 2014 murder in Indonesia, awaited his fate.

A few feet from Bill Wiese and Debbi Curran sat the large suitcase where Bali police had discovered von Wiese-Mack’s bloodied body. On the prosecution table was the murder weapon — a curved metal fruit bowl handle — that had been used to bludgeon her to death.

The siblings bowed their heads as autopsy photos of their sister’s bruised and battered face were flashed on a flat-screen. When it came time to address the court, they approached the lectern at the front of U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer’s packed courtroom together, arms entwined.

“Her life senselessly ended in the most horrific way possible,” said Curran, shaking slightly as Bibbs looked on without expression. “This will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Moments later, a federal judge sentenced Bibbs to 9 years in prison for helping coach his cousin, Tommy Schaefer, and von Wiese-Mack’s daughter, Heather Mack, to carry out the sensational murder in return for a share of her multimillion-dollar estate.

Text messages Bibbs sent to his cousin — many sprinkled with emoticons and speaking in joking terms about the murder — as well as his statements to the FBI after the killing showed he encouraged the crime and expected to be handsomely rewarded, prosecutors said.


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