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September 13, 2013

Bashara bound over for trial in wife’s murder

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

Following a week of testimony from 30 prosecution witnesses, 36th District Court Judge Kenneth King ruled Sept. 13 that there was enough evidence to bind over Robert “Bob” Bashara on multiple felony charges related to the Jan. 24, 2012, slaying of his wife, marketing executive Jane Bashara, 56.

Bashara has been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit murder, suborning of perjury during a capital trial, witness intimidation and obstruction of justice. Following a revelation during the lengthy preliminary examination that Bashara also allegedly used his mother’s bank safe deposit box to conceal a 32-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, he’s now also facing a felony firearm charge.

King said the witnesses “come together to give us a roadmap as to who was responsible for the murder of 56-year-old Jane Bashara.”

Witnesses consisted of members of law enforcement — including representatives from the Michigan State Police Crime Lab, which tested evidence seized in the case — and members of Bashara’s family, girlfriends and associates from the BDSM community, and people — among them fellow prison inmates — Bashara allegedly approached about hiring someone to kill or harm someone he said was causing him problems. Testimony frequently contained graphic details about Bashara’s sex life.

“This is just way too bizarre,” King said of the case as he prepared to issue his decision.

The judge accused Bashara of communicating with witnesses nonverbally, in particular Rachel Gillett, the mistress with whom he reportedly planned to buy a house in Grosse Pointe Park around the time of his wife’s murder. The judge warned Bashara to cease such gestures, including what King said was Bashara patting his hand on his heart.

During the proceedings, when King told the defendant Sept. 12, “There will be no such thing tolerated in this courtroom,” Bashara responded, “Yes, of course, your honor. I have a skin rash on my chest.” Bashara ceased the hand-on-chest gestures after the judge admonished him.

Bashara’s attorneys didn’t agree with the prosecutor’s motion to bind over the Grosse Pointe Park businessman for trial.

“The defense at this time suggests a question of fact,” said Mark Procida, one of the attorneys representing Bashara, after prosecutors made their motion.

King disagreed.

“There has been overwhelming circumstantial evidence and direct evidence … to substantiate each of the (criminal) complaints,” he said.

At press time, Bashara was expected to again face a judge at 9 a.m. Sept. 20, when he’ll be subject to an arraignment on information in 3rd Circuit Court in Detroit. King remanded Bashara to the custody of the Wayne County Jail until his next court hearing. Bashara is serving six to 20 years for admitting he hired someone to kill handyman Joseph Gentz, who said he strangled Jane Bashara after Bob Bashara allegedly offered him money and threatened him if he didn’t commit the murder.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.