DETROIT – Bob Bashara has been found guilty of murdering his wife Jane Bashara, and other charges including obstruction of justice and witness intimidation.
After nine weeks of testimony with nearly 80 witnesses, a Wayne County Circuit Court jury rendered the following verdicts against Bashara Thursday afternoon:
- First-degree murder - guilty
- Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder - guilty
- Solicitation to commit murder - guilty
- Witness intimidation - guilty
- Obstruction of justice – guilty
Under Michigan law, having been found guilty of first-degree murder, Bashara will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2015.
"This three year investigation and prosecution would not have been possible without the extreme dedication of the Wayne County Assistant Prosecutors, Investigators, and Staff; the Federal and State agencies and the Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park Police Departments. May Jane now truly rest in peace," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Following the verdict, Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans praised jurors for what she called their commitment to justice during a protracted trial that included salacious details about Bob Bashara's extramarital affairs and BDSM sexual lifestyle.
Evans also praised both the prosecution and defense for what she called "legal maneuvering at its best" to ensure the case was properly presented.
Jane Bashara was strangled by the family's handyman, Joe Gentz, in the couple's Grosse Pointe Park garage in 2012 before her body was discovered in her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit alley.
Authorities said her husband arranged to have her killed so he could pursue his BDSM lifestyle as "Master Bob" with a mistress and other women.
Gentz pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2012 and said Bob Bashara coerced him into committing the crime. But as Bashara's trial was set to begin in October, Gentz said he wouldn't testify.
The 57-year-old Bashara didn't testify either, but repeatedly professed his innocence. He shook and lowered his head while the verdict was being read.
"He's in shock, very disappointed in the verdict," Michael McCarthy, one of Bashara's lawyers, told reporters.
Bob Bashara already is serving an 80-month-20-year sentence after pleading guilty to attempting to kill Gentz.
"At the end of the day, the jury speaks and you respect that," another defense attorney, Lillian Diallo, told reporters.
Jane Bashara was a marketing executive with a long record of service to her church and community.
Special Section: Jane Bashara murder investigation