Grosse Pointe Park — A long-held sense of security in Grosse Pointe Park was shattered a year ago on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 25.
The body of resident Jane Bashara was found in the backseat of her SUV, abandoned in an alley in Detroit. She had been strangled and beaten.
Her husband, Bob Bashara, called Grosse Pointe Park police the night before to report her missing. According to Bob Bashara, he came home around 8 p.m. but his wife was not there. Concerned, he began calling her friends. Unable to locate her, he called police.
Within hours of finding her body, media crews, both local and national, descended upon Grosse Pointe Park.
News trucks and reporters became common fixutures for weeks both on Middlesex, where the Basharas lived, and throughout the Pointes.
Within days, Bob Bashara was named a person of interest in his wife's death by Grosse Pointe Park police. Then the case took an interesting turn when Bob Bashara's handyman turned himself into police and confessed to killing Jane Bashara.
Joe Gentz was held by Grosse Pointe Park police for three days before being released. Police gave no explanation for releasing Gentz, while maintaining they were actively investigating the murder of Jane Bashara.
On Friday, March 3, Park police arrested Joe Gentz, and charged him with both first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Almost one year later, no one has been named in the conspiracy case.
As police focused on the murder of Jane Bashara, media outlets began focusing on Bob Bashara, and soon the public persona of Bob Bashara as community volunteer, former Rotary club president, Booster Club member and all-around glad hander began to crumble as details of affairs and alternate lifestyles began to emerge.
As spring gave way to summer, the case remained dormant. Gentz was being tested to determine if he was competent to stand trial, a feud developed between Bob Bashara and his late wife's family and all police and prosecutors would say was the death of Jane Bashara was "still under investigation."
On the night of Monday, June 25, the case was blown wide open when Bob Bashara was arrested by Grosse Pointe Park police and charged with solicitation to murder a witness.
He was taken into custody and held briefly at the Park police station before being transferred to the Wayne County jail. His attorney, David Griem, arrived at the station and emerged shortly after Bashara was transferred out and addressed reporters. He said his client had been charged with solicitation to murder a witness to the murder of Jane Bashara. When a reporter asked for clarification by asking, "But there was only one witness to the murder, and that was Joe Gentz. Are you saying that Bob tried to have Joe Gentz murdered?" Griem slowly shook his head and said, "Even I can't wrap my mind around this."
Shortly after his client's arrest, citing irreconcilable differences, Griem resigned as Bob Bashara's attorney. But that didn't mean Griem was off the case. In October, Griem was charged with attorney misconduct after he supplied the Bashara family with confidential discovery information. He also faced charges he improperly issued subpoenas while representing Bashara seeking information on Gentz in the case of "The State of Michigan v. Robert Bashara." However, at the time the subpoenas were issued, there was no case against Bashara, as he had not been charged with any crime at that point. In November, Griem was fined $8,000 in attorney and court fees after admitting responsibility on a civil contempt charge by Judge Kenney J. King of Detroit's 36th District Court.
Just weeks before, Gentz was found competent to stand trial in the murder of Jane Bashara. A trial date of Jan. 7, was set. But there would be no trial, at least for Gentz. On Friday, Dec. 21, he stood before a judge and admitted he killed Jane Bashara, but had done so "because Bob Bashara promised me money and threatened to kill me." He pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the case, while a charge of conspiracy to commit murder was dismissed.
Gentz will be sentenced Tuesday, Jan. 29, to not less than 17 years in prison and not more than 28 years. He remains in the Dickerson Correctional Facility, pending his sentencing hearing.
Bob Bashara spent his 55th birthday Christmas at the Michigan Department of Corrections intake facility in Jackson. He is now housed at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee. The earliest he can be released is Feb. 24, 2019, but he could remain in prison until 2032.
The question that still lingers is whether Bob Bashara will ever be charged with the murder of Jane Bashara.
All police will say is the investigation remains open.