Convicted murderer Bob Bashara renews efforts to get out of prison

Bashara convicted of wife's 2012 murder

Bob Bashara in court May 24, 2016. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Convicted murderer Bob Bashara is turning to the federal courts in his fight to get out of prison.

His attorney, Ronald Ambrose, filed a 110-page petition Friday, which claims Bashara is being unlawfully detained.

The petition argues that Bashara should be granted a new trial as he was "denied the constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel."

It also argues the venue and jury selection process was tainted by how public the case was. It claims potential jurors had a bias against Bashara and were not weeded out of the selection process.

The Michigan Supreme Court has previously denied Bashara's appeal of a Court of Appeals ruling to uphold his convictions in his wife's 2012 murder.

The Michigan Court of Appeals announced its ruling to uphold the convictions in September 2017. Bashara appealed that judgment, but the high court has denied his appeal.

Bashara was sentenced to life in prison in January 2015 after he was convicted of plotting to have his wife killed in 2012.

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.

READ: Bob Bashara's appeal denied by Michigan Supreme Court

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. 

About the Authors:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.