Testimony revealed S&M relationships and ties to a hit-man killer he also tried to have killed

By Jeff Truesdell
December 19, 2014 06:00 PM
AP Photo

Bob Bashara’s once-respectable reputation crumbled for good Thursday when a jury found the former Michigan businessman with a string of S&M mistresses guilty of murdering his wife.

Jane Bashara’s beaten and strangled body was discovered on Jan. 25, 2012, slumped over in her Mercedes SUV in a Detroit alley far from the family’s home in the upscale Grosse Point Park suburb. Initially captured by TV cameras as a grieving father and widower, Bashara’s facade fell away as investigators uncovered his other identity, which involved a basement dungeon where he met other women for sex.

Prosecutors in the lengthy trial argued that Bashara, 57, aimed to inherit the assets of his wife, 56 – a marketing exec who earned four times as much money as her husband in 2011 – and continue his side S&M lifestyle, reports the Detroit Free Press.

His defense attorneys afterward said their client, who never surrendered his claim of innocence, was “in shock” at the verdict.

Bashara once enjoyed a profile as a charity fundraiser, Rotary Club president, church usher and married father of two who volunteered at his kids’ suburban volleyball and soccer games.

He stood accused of hiring handyman Joe Gentz, whom Bashara sometimes employed to work on his real estate holdings, to kill Bashara’s wife of 26 years. The prosecution said he lured Gentz with offers of a Cadillac, cash and Jane Bashara’s wedding ring.

Gentz confessed to his role in the murder and is serving up to 28 years in prison.

In a further twist, Bashara, the son of a state appellate court judge, also was charged in a murder-for-hire plot for trying to have Gentz killed in jail.

“[The] defendant’s ultimate goal was to silence Joseph Gentz in an effort not to avenge the murder of his wife, but to prevent Gentz from any future testimony against defendant Bashara,” said a sentencing memo in that case.

Bashara pleaded guilty to that solicitation charge in December 2012 and is already serving up to 20 years.

He faces life in prison when he is sentenced for Jane Bashara’s murder on Jan. 15.