Death of Jane Bashara

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The death of Jane Bashara has prompted a widely publicized investigation into the circumstances of her death. Bashara was a marketing executive and a resident of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. On January 25, 2012, she was found dead in the back seat of her abandoned Mercedes-Benz SUV in an alley in Detroit, Michigan. The cause of death was strangulation.

Law enforcement officials have named Bashara's husband, Bob Bashara, as a person of interest. Joe Gentz, a mentally impaired handyman, was arrested in March 2012 and charged with first degree murder after reportedly telling police that Bob Bashara had paid him $2,000 and an old Cadillac to murder his wife. Bob Bashara was arraigned on first degree murder charges in the death of his wife on May 1, 2013.[1]

In the fall of 2015 true-crime journalist Steve Miller released a book on the trial, "Murder in Grosse Pointe Park: Privilege, Adultery, and the Killing of Jane Bashara." The book was released via Penguin/Berkley.

Background[edit]

At the time of her death, Jane E. Bashara was a 56-year-old senior marketing manager for KEMA Services, an energy consulting and testing company in Detroit. She was a native of Mt. Clemens, Michigan, and held bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from Central Michigan University and the University of Detroit Mercy. She had two children and had served as a past president of the Grosse Pointe South High School Mother's Club.[2][3]

Bashara's husband, Bob Bashara is a businessman who, at the time of the incident, owned and managed multiple rental properties. He was known as a philanthropist in Grosse Pointe and served for a time as the president of the Grosse Pointe Rotary Club. Bob Bashara is the son of George Bashara, a state appellate court judge and member of the Board of Governors at Wayne State University. The Basharas had been married for 26 years at the time of Jane Bashara's death.[4]

Bashara's death[edit]

Jane Bashara was last seen by co-workers on the afternoon of January 24, 2012, after a meeting in downtown Detroit. Her husband filed a missing person report with the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department at approximately 11:30 p.m. that night.[5]

On January 25, 2012, Bashara's body was discovered in the back seat of her Mercedes SUV, which was parked in an alley on the east side of Detroit. A tow truck driver discovered the body at 7:00 a.m. while patrolling for stolen vehicles.[5] Police reported that Bashara had died from strangulation and that she had bruises and broken finger nails indicating she had "fought for her life."[6][7][8]

Public reaction[edit]

In light of the relative affluence, upscale reputation and overall lack of crime in the Grosse Pointe communities, local press reported every aspect of the killing at every turn for years and updates occur as front page headlines.

On the evening of January 25, 2012, a candlelight vigil was held on the lawn at Grosse Pointe South High School, where Bashara had served as president of the Mother's Club. Bashara's minister led the gathering in prayer. Bashara's husband attended the vigil but did not speak to the gathering.[9] Her funeral was held at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church and attracted hundreds of persons, including U.S. representative Hansen Clarke.[10][11]

Police investigation[edit]

The investigation of Bashara's death was conducted jointly by the Grosse Pointe Park police and the Detroit Police Department.[9] The Michigan State Police also participated in the investigation.[4]

On January 27, 2012, Grosse Pointe Park Police Chief David Hiller announced that Bob Bashara was "a person of interest' in the investigation. He said there were no other persons of interest at that time. Sources also reported at that time that Bob Bashara had taken and failed a lie detector test about his involvement in his wife's death.[12][13]

By January 31, 2012, investigators revealed that they believed Jane Bashara had been murdered in her home and then placed in her SUV.[14]

On February 1, 2012, it was reported that Joseph Gentz, a mentally disabled handyman who rented a property from Bob Bashara, had confessed to police that he helped dispose of Jane Bashara' body after she was murdered in her garage. Gentz reportedly told police that Bob Bashara had paid him $2,000 and an old Cadillac to murder his wife.[15][16][17]

On February 2, 2012, several publications reported that Bob Bashara "allegedly led a double life centering on the underground world of sadomasochism and sexual deviancy with women other than his wife."[18] It was also reported that he maintained a "sex dungeon" in the basement of the Hard Luck Lounge, located in a building owned by Bob Bashara on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Park.[19][20] On February 4, 2012, Bob Bashara commented that, "I did not kill my wife. I have nothing to do with this."[21][22]

In February 2012, multiple media sources also reported on Bob Bashara's relationship with an alleged mistress, Rachel Rene Gillett, who had been employed in the office of alumni affairs at Wayne State University. Gillett was fired[23] after leaving the office on the day Jane Bashara's body was discovered.[23] Police raided Gillett's home in early March 2012. Police stated that Gillett was not a person of interest but left her home carrying seven cardboard boxes and an evidence bag. Bashara's attorney told the press that the Basharas had an "open marriage."[24]

On March 3, 2012, Joe Gentz was arrested in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. It was reported that Gentz had turned himself in on January 31, 2012, but that police had dismissed the confession made by Gentz who had an IQ of 67. Following his arrest in early March, Gentz was charged with first degree murder.[25]

On March 9, 2012, newspapers reported that the clothing worn by Jane Bashara at the time of her death was missing or had been destroyed. It was reported that the clothes, which were supposed to have been shipped to the Michigan State Police crime laboratory, had been picked up from the Wayne County medical examiner by a funeral home.[22][26] The funeral director told the Detroit Free Press that he did not recall what had happened to the clothing, but that "it is customary procedure to dispose of clothing not requested by police, especially if it was blood-stained or dirty."[22] Bob Bashara's lawyer, David Griem, told reporters that the loss of forensic evidence from the clothing was "devastating news" to the family and "a significant roadblock in the search for truth and justice for Jane Bashara."[22]

On April 9, 2012, multiple sources reported that investigators continued to focus on Bob Bashara and a possible conspiracy and that criminal charges may be filed against him.[6][17][27]

"A source familiar with the investigation told the [Detroit] Free Press on June 24, 2012, that Bashara is accused of attempting to have someone murder Joseph Gentz. The former handyman told investigators he was hired by Bashara to kill his wife, Jane Bashara." [28]

On December 18, 2014, Bob Bashara was found guilty of the murder of his wife Jane with sentencing set for January 15, 2015. On January 15, 2015, Bob Bashara was sentenced to life without parole by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge, Vonda Evans.

In January, 2016, Gentz claimed he had committed perjury under pressure from Grosse Pointe Park police and that Bob Bashara was not involved in the murder of his wife.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Curry, Colleen. "Bob Bashara Arraigned in Wife's Murder". Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Husband of executive found strangled in her Mercedes 'fails lie detector test' and is declared person of interest". Daily Mail. January 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Jane E. Bashara Obituary". A.H. Peters. 
  4. ^ a b "Jane Bashara Update: Plot Thickens In Murder Case". Huffington Post. February 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Kimberly Craig (January 25, 2012). "Police investigate apparent murder of Grosse Pointe woman, body found in Detroit inside her Mercedes". WXYX Action News. 
  6. ^ a b "Police 'set to charge husband over death of marketing executive who was strangled at wheel of her own Mercedes'". Daily Mail. April 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Grosse Pointe Murder: Bob Bashara Denies Any Involvement in Wife's Death". ABC News. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Husband of executive found strangled in her Mercedes 'fails lie detector test' and is declared person of interest". Daily Mail. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Kathy Ryan (January 26, 2012). "Grosse Pointe News". 
  10. ^ "Jane Bashara funeral attracts hundreds". Detroit Free Press. January 31, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Hundreds Say Goodbye To Jane Bashara". CBS Detroit. January 31, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Jane Bashara's Husband Called 'Person of Interest' in Her Murder". My Fox Detroit. January 27, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Source says murdered Grosse Pointe Park woman's husband failed polygraph". WXYZ Action News. January 27, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Possible accomplice says he was at Jane Bashara's home when she was slain, source says". Freep.com. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "'Accomplice' tells police Jane Bashara murdered in garage of Grosse Pointe Park home". mlive.com. February 1, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Man reportedly claims to be husband's accomplice in alleged murder of Detroit marketing executive". Fox News. February 1, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Strange twists in case of murdered Detroit executive: Detroit executive was strangled, and the man charged alleges her husband was involved". msnbc.com (The Today Show). April 10, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Women claim Bob Bashara ran sex dungeons". Macomb Daily. February 3, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Women claim Bob Bashara ran sex dungeons". Daily Tribune. February 2, 2012. 
  20. ^ Taryn Asher (February 1, 2012). "'Sex Dungeon' at One of Bob Bashara's Properties?". My Fox Detroit, WJBK Fox 2. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  21. ^ "What happened to Jane Bashara?". Detroit Free Press. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c d "'A significant roadblock in search for truth and justice': Clothes Jane Bashara was wearing when she was murdered are missing after funeral home 'threw them out'". Daily Mail. March 9, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "Bashara’s reputed mistress was fired after walking off job at Wayne State". The News Herald. February 26, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Grosse Pointe Murder: Mistress's House Searched". ABC News. March 6, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Police had dismissed murder confession". UPI.com. March 8, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Jane Bashara's clothes missing as murder investigation continues". The Associated Press. March 9, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Bob Bashara may be charged in wife's slaying this week". Dearborn Press & Guide. April 10, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Source: Police have recordings of Bob Bashara in murder solicitation case". Freep.com. June 26, 2012. 
  29. ^ Baldas, Tresa (21 January 2016). "Handyman changes his story in Bashara murder — again". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 21 January 2016.