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Beline Obeid
September 19, 2013
Some 30 witnesses took the stand last week during Bob Bashara’s preliminary examination on charges he was involved in the murder of his wife.

Mistresses, a drug dealer, a cellmate and friends of Jane Bashara helped shed light on the double life Bashara was leading, as he juggled a life at the country clubs and civic organizations in Grosse Pointe with an alternative lifestyle involving sex clubs and websites devoted to deviant sexual practices.

But it was the testimony of his daughter, Jessica, that left even veteran courtroom observers to speak of her courage and grace on the stand.

Prosecutors allowed Jessica Bashara, now a college senior, to wait in the jury room before giving her testimony, rather than the witness room. This also allowed her to enter the courtroom a back way, and not have to pass in front of her father.

Once she was on the stand, she told how she had spoken with her mother by phone the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2012. The call lasted 23 minutes, as Jane Bashara drove home on Jefferson from her job as a marketing consultant in Detroit’s New Center area. Jessica Bashara said she wanted to give her mother some information that she needed to write down, so Jane told her she would call her once she got home. That call, apparently, never came.

Instead, Jessica Bashara testified, her father called her that evening, telling her that her mother was not home and he was concerned. He then called her the next morning, saying her mother was missing.

“I started calling hotels, thinking she needed some space from my father,” Jessica Bashara said. “But my father called again and told me that I shouldn’t go to class, that my grandmother and a friend were on their way to pick me up. Then he told me my mother was dead.”

According to Jessica Bashara, her father put forth a theory her mother was a victim of a random carjacking, but as news reports surfaced of a mistress and an alternative life style, Jessica Bashara said her father’s story began to change, and her father began to speak about Joe Gentz.

“He said he allowed Joe to do work on his rentals and Joe thought he was owed money. He said Joe came to the house to ask for money and got in my mother’s face. He told me that Joe Gentz had threatened him because he needed money.”

Jessica Bashara said her father told her he was at his rental properties the night her mother disappeared, but when he was named a person of interest in the murder by police, he changed that story to say he had stopped by the Bashara house on Middlesex to pick up some keys.

“I thought it was odd that his story changed,” she said.

Jessica Bashara spoke of trouble in her parents’ marriage, relating they had been in marriage counseling and her mother’s credit had been affected because she co-signed on some of her father’s rental properties.

Jessica Bashara also told of finding her father using pornographic websites on the computer.

“I caught him viewing porn sites multiple times,” she said. “It upset me. He said he stopped, but he hadn’t. It upset me and it upset my mother.”

She also related finding a text on her father’s phone, describing it as “disturbing” because it described a sexual act. When she confronted her father, he deleted the text, telling her there was no text.

She then testified about her father admitting he was having an affair with Rachel Gillett.

“He admitted having an affair, but said it was not sexual,” she said. “He said he wasn’t physically capable of having sex, but said there were other ways.”

She then spoke of a ring that once belonged to her father’s great aunt. The aunt had left the ring to her father, and both Jessica Bashara and her mother had worn the ring. When Jessica Bashara went to her mother’s jewelry box to get the ring one day, she couldn’t find it. Afraid she had misplaced the ring, she didn’t say anything about it missing.

It was only later that she learned her father had given the ring to Gillett, but he told Jessica Bashara that Gillett wanted to return the ring to her because “she wanted me to have it.”

Bashara has been bound over to stand trial for the murder of Jane Bashara.

He faces six other charges as well, including conspiracy to commit murder, obstruction of justice and a felony firearm charge.

He was expected to be arraigned in Wayne County Circuit Court on Friday, Sept. 20.

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