Jane Bashara murder case: Background and timeline of events

Bob Bashara, convicted of arranging wife’s murder, dies in prison

Jane Bashara
Jane Bashara

DETROIT – Bob Bashara, the Grosse Pointe Park man convicted of arranging his wife’s 2012 murder, died Aug. 17, 2020 while in prison.

Bob Bashara (WDIV)

He was sentenced to life in prison in January 2015 after he was convicted of plotting to have his wife killed in 2012. The trial against him in 2014 lasted more than two months and included more than 70 witnesses.

Here is what Bob Bashara was charged with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Conspiracy to commit first degree murder
  • Solicitation to commit murder
  • Witness intimidation
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Judge Vonda Evans dropped a charge of suborning of perjury during a capital trial

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

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 was given a 17-to-28-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in Jane’s death.

Joe Gentz in court

Timeline: The beginning

The case began Jan. 24, 2012 when Bob Bashara reported his wife, 56-year-old Jane Bashara, missing about 11 p.m. that Tuesday. He told police he had expected her home about 8 p.m. He said he thought she was running an errand.

-- Bob and Jane Bashara

Family of Jane said she left for work about 5:30 a.m. that day and arrived home in Grosse Pointe Park at about 6 p.m. Bob returned home about 8 p.m. and said his wife wasn’t at the house on Middlesex Road.

Jane was found dead the next day -- Jan. 25, 2012 -- in the back of her Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle parked in an alley near Pinewood Avenue and Annott Street on Detroit’s east side. A tow truck driver found her inside the SUV which he had come to tow.

-- The alley where Jane was found

Timeline of events after Jane was found dead

January 26, 2012

-- Autopsy reveals Jane Bashara was strangled to death.

January 27, 2012

-- 9 p.m. -- Bob Bashara leaves Grosse Pointe Park Police station after agreeing to take polygraph test. During the test, police armed with a warrant search the Bashara home, remove computers and take pictures. Police name Bob Bashara a person of interest in his wife’s death.

-- Police searching the Bashara home on Jan. 27, 2012

January 29, 2012

-- Police report Bob Bashara polygraph results and statements to be inconsistent.

January 30, 2012

-- Local 4 Defenders confirm new evidence that Bob and Jane Bashara had been together the night Jane went missing in downtown Detroit -- Sources tell Local 4 Defenders the killer of Jane Bashara did not act alone.

Watch: Interview with Jane's mother and sister

January 31, 2012

-- 10:30 a.m. -- Jane Bashara’s funeral is held at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church. Hundreds of people attend the funeral.

-- 11:15 a.m. -- Local 4 Defenders break new development in Jane Bashara murder, sources say individual with knowledge of the murder walked into Grosse Pointe Park police station early Tuesday morning and asked to speak with investigators

-- 1 p.m. -- Local 4 cameras capture Bob Bashara leaving Grosse Pointe Memorial Church for luncheon

-- 1:54 p.m. -- Man with knowledge of murder is placed under police custody -- Police continue to work to verify information provided.

-- 2:24 p.m. -- Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office had not been presented a warrant request in the homicide investigation.

February 1, 2012

-- 9 a.m. -- Local 4 cameras catch Bob Bashara outside of his home, Bashara refuses to comment on the latest allegations against him by “Joe.”

-- 1:15 p.m. -- Local 4 Defenders learn “Joe” is telling investigators he was directly involved in the murder of Jane Bashara, but was forced to be involved by another person who was in the room at the time of Jane Bashara’s murder, sources said.

Read back: Bob Bashara speaks outside Grosse Pointe Park home on Feb. 1, 2012

Bob Bashara speaking outside his home on Feb. 1, 2012

February 10, 2012

-- Bob Bashara does an interview with Local 4 Defender Marc Santia. Bashara said reports he was with his wife the night she went missing aren't true.

Bob Bashara: “I think for my children, for my family, and yes, for me, I would like to know who is responsible and make them pay, to be punished within our legal system. It would mean a lot to me. It would bring closure to this whole thing, because, like my sister said, I have been named a person of interest and people have pointed the finger at me and all these different issues have come up.”

March 5, 2012

-- Joe Gentz is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He is held at the Wayne County Jail.

-- Joe Gentz

June 26, 2012

-- Bob Bashara is arrested and accused of trying to solicit the murder of Joe Gentz while Gentz was behind bars.

-- Bob Bashara at the Wayne County Jail on June 25, 2012.

October 11, 2012

-- Bob Bashara pleads guilty to trying to have Gentz killed -- Story: Bob Bashara says he's sorry, ashamed

December 10, 2012

-- Judge sentences Bob Bashara to a minimum of 80 months in prison and a maximum of 20 years. He's eligible for parole in 2019.

February 19, 2013

-- Joe Gentz is sentenced to 17-28 years in prison for the murder of Jane Bashara. Gentz maintains that Jane’s husband promised to pay him for killing his wife.

May 1, 2013

-- Bob Bashara is arraigned on charges including conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit murder, perjury, witness intimidation and obstruction of justice in his wife's death. He pleads not guilty. During his arraignment, Bashara told the judge he was trying to raise funds to get an attorney.

-- Bob Bashara during a pretrial hearing on Sept. 24, 2014

September 24, 2014

-- Judge decides Bob Bashara will stand trial in his wife's death. He receives no plea deal.

-- Bob Bashara during his arraignment on May 1, 2013

Trial against Bashara

On April 15, 2014 Judge Evans appointed attorney Michael McCarthy to represent Bob Bashara. Evans also appointed attorney Lillian Diallo.

October 7, 2014

-- The murder trial against Bob Bashara begins.

December 11, 2014

-- The jury begins deliberations after two months of testimony.

December 18, 2014

-- Bob Bashara is convicted of first-degree murder.

Bob Bashara

January 2015

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

Bob Bashara dies years later in prison

August 2020

The Livingston County Medical Examiners Office confirmed Aug. 18, 2020 that they received the body of Robert Bashara from the Woodland Center Correctional Facility in Whitmore Lake in Livingston County.

Officials confirmed that Bashara died Monday, Aug. 17, 2020 at the Woodland Center Correctional Facility.

Bashara was 62 years old when he was pronounced dead.

Jane Bashara’s sister, Julie Rowe, released the following statement:

“I am disappointed he only spent 8 years in prison. That is just not long enough for all that he ruined.”


About the Author:

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