December 12, 2013DETROIT — Bob Bashara was back before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Vonda Evans Tuesday in a preliminary hearing where he requested a laptop computer so he could review documents related to his case.
Bashara is scheduled to go to trial March 3, on charges he murdered his wife, Jane, in January 2012. In addition to the first degree murder charge, he also faces charges of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, solicitation to commit murder, suborning perjury during a capital trial, witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and a felony firearm charge.
Bashara is currently serving seven to 20 years for attempting to hire a hit man to kill Joe Gentz. Gentz has pleaded guilty to killing Jane Bashara, but said he did so at the behest of Bashara. He is currently serving 17 to 28 years for second degree murder.
According to attorneys for both the prosecution and defense, there are "thousands" of pages of discovery in the case, and Bashara's court appointed attorney, Mark Procida, said, "There is more discovery in this case than any other case I have been involved with," adding he has practiced law for 27 years.
But Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey immediately objected to Bashara's request.
"The people strenuously and vehemently object," she said, noting Bashara is being charged with witness intimidation and has admitted to attempting to hire a hit man to murder Gentz, having "unfettered access to a computer would be beyond foolhardy."
When Evans directed a question to Procida, Bashara interrupted.
"You're missing the biggest part of this," he told the judge. "I'm suffering from macular degeneration and it is difficult for me to read pages without glasses." Bashara said his condition is a side effect of his diabetes and he is being treated at the Kresge Eye Institute.
Evans was still reluctant to grant the request, even after acknowledging that internet service is not available to prisoners.
"I don't want to give the appearance of giving Mr. Bashara preferential treatment," she said. "But this is a difficult case, not at all typical or run of the mill."
Evans said she recognizes the prosecutor's concerns for safety, and with that in mind, she said she will meet with officials from the Wayne County jail, where Bashara is currently housed, before making a ruling on the request.
She set a hearing date of Thursday, Jan. 9, where she would rule on the request.