DETROIT (WWJ) – The trial of Bob Bashara, charged with arranging his wife’s murder, will resume Thursday.
Court-appointed defense attorney Michael McCarthy Wednesday afternoon said Bashara — who must be present for any jury questions or a verdict — has been cleared to return to court.
This latest come after jurors were dismissed three days into deliberations, because the 57-year-old defendant was experiencing an “undisclosed medical issue” that prevented him from being present in court.
Then, Wednesday morning, it was announced that the trial would be on indefinite hold as Bashara was “not medically competent” to appear.
Bashara — a diabetic — has disrupted the case a total of three times now due to health issues.
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said all these delays could compromise a verdict in the case.
“Yes, the jury will be at a disadvantage and yes, we certainly can’t rule out the possibility of a mistrial,” said Langton. “There are so many delays, the jury may forget the facts. There were 70 witnesses, a two month trial and the jury wasn’t allowed to take notes.”
Langton said there’s really no reason for Bashara to be present in court while the jury is deliberating.
“This is not a critical part of the trial. The defendant is not in the jury room and any questions the jury might have are legal ones the judge deals with. Besides, we don’t even know the severity of Bob Bashara’s illness — it’s a mystery,” Langton said. “A solution: Let the jury continue to deliberate. They can reach a verdict that would necessitate Bob Bashara to be in court, and then just hold on to the verdict.”
Bashara is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation of murder in the Jan. 2012 death of his wife Jane, whose body was found in her Mercedes-Benz SUV in Detroit. Authorities say she was beaten and strangled in the couple’s home.
Joseph Gentz, a handyman who confessed he killed Jane Bashara under Bob Bashara’s orders, is in prison for second-degree murder. Gentz did not testify during the trial.
Prosecutors allege Bob Bashara wanted his wife out of the way so he could pursue a new life with others, who referred to him as “Master Bob” as part of an alternative sexual lifestyle known as BDSM.
There’s no dispute that Bob Bashara was having an affair, but the defense argued that it was just a fling — and that he wouldn’t want to kill Jane because she was the breadwinner in the household. Defense attorney Michael McCarthy said Bob Bashara could have continued his affairs without having his wife killed.
Bob Bashara is currently in prison for trying to have Gentz killed in jail in 2012. He’s eligible for parole in that case in 2019.