Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Bashara to trial

by Kathy Ryan Staff Writer

September 19, 2013

DETROIT — Judge Kenneth King ruled Friday there was enough evidence to try Bob Bashara on seven counts related to the January 2012 murder of Jane Bashara.

Charges include first degree murder, 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.

“The real shame of it all is that, Mrs. Bashara probably really trusted him in giving her hand in marriage to him,” King said in handing down his ruling. “He was supposed to protect her. There’s supposed to be trust in a relationship.”

King’s decision came on the fifth day of Bashara’s preliminary examination, during which prosecuting attorneys called 30 witnesses, including Bashara’s three former mistresses, his Oaks Correctional Facility cellmate, tenants from his rental properties and a cocaine dealer.

His mistress, Rachel Gillett, testified she met Bashara in August 2008 on a bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism website and they entered into a master-slave relationship that lasted until 2012.

Initially he told her he was a widower and he was raising his teenage daughter alone. Several months after they met, he admitted he was married but said he was separated and he and his wife were “leading two separate lives.” He eventually told her he had divorced Jane in May 2011, but never showed her the divorce papers, even though she asked for them several times.

Gillett, who was employed at Wayne State University, moved to Grosse Pointe Park in 2009, where she lived in an apartment on Mack over the Hard Luck Lounge. It was in the basement of the Hard Luck Bashara had set up a “dungeon,” where he and Gillett as well as others, met to participate in BDSM activities.

She eventually moved to a duplex on St. Clair in the City of Grosse Pointe, and recounted a time she tried to break off her relationship with Bashara. She came home one night and to find him sitting on a lawn chair, blocking her doorway, crying.

At one point, in July 2011, after Bashara told her his divorce from Jane was final and they were planning a life together, she told him she was worried about how she would be received by his friends in Grosse Pointe.

Bashara told her not to worry.

“I am a huge figure here, and have many friends,” he said.

Gillett said she and Bashara were looking for a house to purchase in Grosse Pointe, and were due to close on a house on Kensington Jan. 27, three days after Jane Bashara was murdered.

On Jan. 24, the day Jane Bashara was murdered, Bashara met Gillett at her office at Wayne State and the two went to lunch. She also said she spoke to Bashara several times that day.

Gillett testified Bashara called her twice the night Jane Bashara was murdered, and also called her the afternoon of Jan. 25, the day her body was found.

“He told me that friends and family had gathered at the house on Middlesex and he asked me to come over,” she said. “I told him I didn’t think it would be appropriate.”

However, she did attend the candlelight vigil friends of Jane Bashara held later that night on the lawn of Grosse Pointe South.

Another mistress, Venita Porter, testified she had furnished the dungeon and lived there until Bashara “threw her out” one night after he spent several hours in the dungeon with Gillett.

Prior to that, Porter said she frequently accompanied Bashara to Rotary Club activities and family events.

“I went to church with Bob and Jane, went to a movie with Bob and his mother, went to volleyball games at Grosse Pointe South to watch Jessica (Bashara’s daughter) play, and participated in planning a Rotary Club birthday party for Bob,” she testified. “I met Bob’s friends through Rotary and his Lochmoor buddies.”

She said she learned of Jane Bashara’s death through a church e-mail, and contacted Bob Bashara to offer her condolences.

In February 2012, Bashara called Porter and invited her to attend a Rotary Club wine tasting.

In March 2012, she testified, Bashara showed up unexpectedly at her house, and said he was concerned because Gillett “was not standing by his side, and she had turned on him.”

On June 25, 2012, Bashara asked Porter to lunch, and she met him in Hines Park, where they sat and talked at a picnic table.

“He told me he loved Rachel, and that she was being crazy,” Porter said. “He couldn’t reach her.”

Then he and Porter went for a walk around the park.

“He pulled me into the bushes where no one could see us,” Porter testified. “He told me I wasn’t a whore and grabbed me around the neck, raised me up and kissed me. I kept my hand on my box cutter in my pocket. Then he asked me to come stay with him at the Middlesex house.”

And she added, “He told me we don’t have much time.”

Later that night, Bashara was arrested for attempting to hire a hitman to kill Joe Gentz.

Another woman who was involved with Bashara testified he had flown to Oregon to meet her just two weeks before Jane Bashara was murdered.

Janet Leehman said she met Bashara through a BDSM website and exchanged e-mails for several months before he flew to Oregon Jan. 10, 2012. Bashara told her in e-mails prior to the trip he was “tired of living a fake life and wanted to be true to himself and live his lifestyle.”

He also mailed her a package containing Christmas presents, including a gift card to the Olive Garden restaurant, a metal chain to wear on her wrist and a “dirty T-shirt he had slept in for three days,” telling her it had his scent on it so “I could feel him.”

Leehman related several disturbing incidents that weekend.

“I was making breakfast and I heard Bob on the phone,” she said. “He was telling someone ‘I want it done this weekend. What the (expletive) is wrong with you? I want it done before I get home.’”

When he got off the phone, Bashara told her he was talking to his handyman.

“He was yelling and angry,” she added.

She also said at one point during the weekend Bashara had walked up behind her, wrapped his hands around her neck and caused her to pass out.

Leehman had determined she wanted no further contact with Bashara when on the night of Jan. 25 she received a text message from Bashara telling her of a family emergency and ordering her to cease all communication with him immediately.

Leehman, who also knew Rachel Gillett, said Gillett phoned her to say Bashara’s wife was missing and to not contact him because he was “trying to clear his phone record.”

On Jan. 26, she heard from Bashara, telling her to not call him and to “lay low.” But if asked, she was to tell people they were just friends.

A few weeks later, Bashara called Leehman again, asking her to buy Gillett a plane ticket and to hide her out at Leehman’s father’s cattle ranch.

“I declined, absolutely,” Leehman told the court. She also said she retained an attorney who notified Bashara he was to cease contact with her.

The three women all said Bashara suffered from erectile dysfunction and used rough sex play, including erotic asphyxiation, or choking, as part of their intimate relations.

In addition to the three mistresses, a series of tenants and acquaintances of Bashara took the stand, including one former tenant who said while doing cocaine with Bashara in the spring of 2012 near Woodward and Six Mile, Bashara started to cry and told him he had Joe Gentz kill his wife. He also said Bashara offered him money to implicate his former girlfriend, also a former tenant of Bashara’s, in Jane Bashara’s murder.

Even though Bashara is serving a prison term of seven to 20 years for admitting he attempted to hire a hitman to kill Joe Gentz, it hasn’t stopped him from allegedly trying to hire another hitman to kill Gentz and Steve Tibaudo, the informant who turned Bashara into police, as well as a third individual.

According to testimony by Bashara’s former cellmate at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee, Bashara, while teaching his cellmate how to play bridge, asked him if he knew of someone who could kill Gentz and the other individuals. He said Bashara would write information down to share with him because he believed their cell was bugged by prison officials. Once the information was shared, Bashara would rip up the paper and flush it down the toilet.

Allegedly Bashara offered his cellmate a rental property he owned on Guilford in Detroit as payment.

When he handed down his decision to bind Bashara over to stand trial in Wayne County Circuit Court, Judge King minced no words, even questioning why a preliminary examination was held and the case didn’t go directly to trial.

“When you have dealings with scum, you’re scum, too,” King said of Bashara.

King said this case was one of the most unusual cases he’s had because of the bizarre issues surrounding it, including Bashara’s behavior in the court room.

“There’s a lesson to be learned from the behavior this court has observed,” King said, noting Bashara was tapping his heart while Gillett testified and crying, “even though his eyes were as dry as sandpaper.”

King said of Bashara that “he thought he was Mafia, putting hits out on people.”

Bashara will be arraigned at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in Wayne County Circuit Court. His attorney, Mark Procida, did not return calls for comment.