DETROIT – Bob Bashara's convictions in his wife's 2012 murder will be upheld, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
The former Grosse Pointe Park businessman was sentenced to life in prison in January 2015 after he was convicted of plotting to have his wife killed in 2012. Bashara also was sentenced to 18 to 40 years in prison for a solicitation of murder conviction, 1 to 5 years in prison for an obstruction of justice conviction, and 2 to 10 years in prison for bribing, intimidating, or interfering with a witness conviction.
Bashara appealed his convictions and life sentence, claiming his rights were violated by an ineffective defense. He also claimed he was denied a fair trial.
The appeals court is not buying it, releasing this statement with its ruling:
"The thousands of pages of transcripts and lower court filings in this case unmistakably show that the defense vigorously advocated for defendant in the trial court, attempting to demonstrate reasonable doubt or error by emphasizing inconsistencies in witness testimony and isolated facts that obscure the clear trajectory of the events giving rise to Jane Bashara’s murder. Belying the voluminous lower court record and the multitude of protestations by defendant to the contrary, this case is straightforward. In considering the chronology of the events giving rise to Jane’s death, it is clear that the jury reached the correct result."
Jane Bashara killed by handyman
Jane Bashara was found dead Jan. 25, 2012 in the back of her SUV in an alley in Detroit. It was just miles from the couple's home in Grosse Pointe Park. An autopsy revealed she had been strangled.
Joe Gentz, who worked as Bob Bashara's handyman, admitted he strangled Jane in the couple's Grosse Pointe Park garage. Her body was discovered in her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit alley.
Authorities said her husband arranged to have her killed by Gentz so he could pursue his BDSM lifestyle as "Master Bob" with a mistress and other women.
Handyman finally testifies in 2016
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. It would be another four years until he finally laid out the case against Bob Bashara in April 2016.
Gentz took the stand after advisement that he could face further charges by testifying. That was after he made a shocking claim that Bob Bashara had nothing to do with the murder of his wife. He also said police coached him on what to say in court.
Gentz's plea deal could have been taken back by prosecutors if he didn't testify. He could have opened himself to new charges such as conspiracy. He told Judge Vonda Evans he wished to testify after his attorney spoke with him twice and advised him of the possible consequences of perjury.
"This isn't a game," Evans told Gentz. "I have no control over what the prosecutor's office can do."
'Shut her up'
On the stand, Gentz discussed the day Jane Bashara was killed and said that Bob Bashara pulled a gun on him and told him to "shut her up." Gentz said he was promised $8,000 and a Cadillac for the murder, but later said it was $10,000. He admitted to breaking Jane Bashara's neck and said Bob Bashara was present during the murder.
Gentz is serving a 17-to-28-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in Jane's death.