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'She was struggling to breathe'

Bob Bashara, right, consults with attorney Mark Procida. photo by Kathy Ryan.

September 12, 2013
Bob Bashara wept Tuesday at his preliminary examination as Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz described the physical assault Jane Bashara endured as she was beaten and strangled the night of Jan. 24, 2012. Bob Bashara is being charged with her murder.

"It wasn't a quick and painless death," Diaz said. "She was struggling to breathe."

Diaz said Jane Bashara suffered signifi cant blunt force trauma to the head, neck and upper chest area, but the cause of death was strangulation and the manner in which she died was a homicide.

Diaz conducted the autopsy on Jane Bashara on Jan. 26, 2012, the day after her body was found in the backseat of her SUV abandoned in a Detroit alley.

Jane Bashara's windpipe was crushed, Diaz said, and also noted neck cartilage was fractured and her voicebox and thyroid gland had been crushed.

"We all have seen in the movies of when someone dies quickly," he said. "In real life, that doesn't happen. It wasn't an instantaneous death, she didn't die right away. There was extensive trauma."

As Diaz testified, Bob Bashara began to cry, wiping tears from his eyes and face. As Diaz left the stand, Bashara tossed the tissue into a nearby wastebasket.

The doctor was the leadoff witness in the second day of Bashara's preliminary examination in Detroit's 36th District Court. But before witnesses took the stand, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor John Moran informed the court his offi ce was seeking to add another charge to the six counts Bashara is facing, and would seek felony firearm charges.

Those charges stem from testimony yesterday by Bob Bashara's mother, Nancy, and cousin, Stephanie Samuel, that they found a gun in a safety deposit box to which only Bob and Nancy Bashara had the key. They turned the gun over to attorney David Griem, and it was just recently recovered from Griem's office.

In other testimony Tuesday, a forensic cellphone expert from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms testified as to the number of phone calls that were exchanged between Bob Bashara's cellphone and one belonging to Joe Gentz. During the period, 472 calls were exchanged between the two men, including 37 exchanged during a four-day period leading up to Jane's murder.

Gentz admitted to killing Jane Bashara, but said it was at the behest of Bob Bashara.

The expert also noted that on the night Jane disappeared, Bob Bashara made two calls to his alleged mistress, Rachel Gillett.

Prosecutors hope to show that the relationship between Gillett and Bob Bashara was a

motive for Bob Bashara to kill his wife.

A former Grosse Pointe resident, Joy Jolly, who had known Bob and Jane Bashara since 2000, testifi ed that in September 2010 while holding an open house for a Grosse Pointe Shores residence she was selling, Bob Bashara and an unknown woman, who she later recognized from news reports as Rachel Gillett, came through the house. She said Bashara told her the woman was just a friend and he was helping her to find a house.

In testimony Monday, a friend of Jane Bashara testified that Jane told her Bob Bashara was attending a golf tournament in Florida over the Christmas holidays in December 2012. Bob said he was the guest of Jim Wilson, who lives in Fort Lauderdale. The friend grew suspicious, and contacted Wilson. Wilson told her Bob had not been with him over the holidays, and Bob called him and asked him to cover for him in case Jane Bashara called him.

Jim Wilson is Joy Jolly's ex-husband.

The preliminary examination is expected to continue until Friday. Judge Kenneth King will then determine if there is enough evidence to bind Bashara over for trial on first-degree murder charges and fi ve related charges.

Grosse Pointe News will continue through the week with updates at grossepointenews.com.

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