GROSSE POINTE PARK (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan appeals court has affirmed the murder conviction of a former Rotary Club president who was accused of arranging his wife’s death so he could devote himself to a life of bondage with other women as “Master Bob.”
The court says the case against Bob Bashara was “straightforward,” despite twists and turns before and during trial. Bashara attacked the performance of his attorneys, but the court says he was given a vigorous defense.
The 3-0 decision was released Thursday. Click here to read the opinion (.pdf format)
Bashara’s wife, Jane, was strangled by handyman Joe Gentz in their Grosse Pointe Park garage in 2012. Her body was discovered in her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit alley.
Nearly 500 pieces of evidence were presented, more than 70 witnesses took the stand, and sometimes salacious testimony about dungeons, whippings and sex parties peppered the 10-week trial, which revealed that Bob Bashara hosted men and women at a sex dungeon under a bar called the Hard Luck Lounge.
Prosecutors argued that Bashara wanted his wife out of the way so he could pursue a new life with other women, who referred to him as “Master Bob” as part of an alternative sexual lifestyle known as BDSM. The defense countered that Bashara’s affair was just a fling — and that he wouldn’t want to kill Jane because she was the breadwinner in the household.
During the trial, Bashara was already in prison for trying to have Gentz killed in jail in 2012. Gentz is presently serving 17-to-28 years in prison after pleading guilty to second degree murder in the case.
Gentz, Bashara’s former handyman, originally said that he killed Jane at the behest of money from Bashara. He chose not to testify during trial, but purportedly told police that Bashara forced him to strangle Jane in the couple’s garage and then ordered him to leave her body in her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit alley.
In a signed affidavit filed in January, Gentz now claims that he broke into the Basharas’ garage looking for items to steal because Bob Bashara had refused to pay him for two jobs. When Jane caught him in the act, Gentz claims he “lost control” and strangled her, according to the document.
“I held her with one hand, picked an object and hit her on the head,” Gentz said in the affidavit, which was obtained by WDIV. “She lost consciousness. I thought she was faking so I placed both of my hands around her neck and squeezed her neck until she no longer moved.”
He then put her body in the back of her Mercedes-Benz SUV and drove it to an alley in Detroit where he parked it and walked away.
Gentz has since changed his story a couple of times; but reconfirmed in a detailed statement that Bashara had ordered his wife’s killing and watched her die.
Bashara is serving life in prison.
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