I came across this case several times while I was researching the Alan Canty case. The cases were similar in several areas although Alan Canty's murder occurred in 1985 and Jane Bashara would be murdered in 2012. Both crimes not only took place in Detroit Michigan but both victims lived in the upscale community of Grosse Pointe Park. The similarities did not end there. In both cases sex and sexual appetite seemingly played in big role.
Fifty-six year old Jane Bashara was last seen on the afternoon of January 24, 2012 by her co-workers. About 11:30 that night her husband of twenty-six years, Bob, filed a missing persons report on her. The following morning around seven a tow truck driver was patrolling one of the more seedier areas of Detroit for stolen vehicles when he found Jane's Mercedes-Benz SUV in an alley. Inside the vehicle, in the backseat, lay the body of Jane Bashara. Her official cause of death would be listed as strangulation.
Investigators were immediately suspicious of Bob and by all accounts within two days they were announcing not only was he a “person of interest” but he had taken and failed a lie detector test. By the 31st it was announced that investigators believed she had been murdered at home and placed in her SUV. The following day (February 1st) a man by the name of Joe Gentz walked into the police station and told them a story.
Gentz was described as a “mentally impaired handyman” but the story he told rang true to investigators. Gentz rented a home that was one of several properties owned by Bob Bashara. He told authorities that he had helped Bob dispose of Jane's body after she was murdered in her garage. Gentz also claimed that Bob had paid him to do so. In some reports it was alleged that Gentz received $2,000 and an “old Cadillac” while others simply say it was $8,000. But, as you will see stories do not always stay the same.
Despite his confession Joe Gentz was not arrested that day. His story needed to be checked out before that could happen. And, it was said that investigators did not take his confession as seriously because it was obvious that Gentz had a low intelligence level. It is not clear if law enforcement informed the media they had gotten a confession yet. But, on the following day it was reported that it had been discovered that Bob Bashara had been leading a “double life” that included a “sex dungeon” in the basement of one of the buildings he owned that housed a bar. It was soon learned that in the world of “sadomasochism” he was known as “Master Bob.” It seeming too two days but Bob would come out and publicly deny involvement in his wife's murder. Soon after it was a woman by the name of Rachel Gillet was found and it was said she was Bob's “main” mistress. At this point his attorney made a public statement that the Bashara's had an “open marriage,” something no one close to the couple believed to be true. Despite all of this information none it proved he murdered his wife, but police did finally arrest Joe Gentz on March 3, 2012.
Just a few days later it seems that law enforcement had to publicly announce something that would put “egg” on their face. It was reported that the clothing Jane had been wearing when she was found had been lost. Investigators believed it had been sent to a crime lab but instead it seems it was never collected and had gone with the body to a funeral home. The funeral home in turn stated they had disposed of the clothing as protocol because they work on the assumption that the medical examiner and investigators had collected all that they needed before releasing the body.
Despite having Gentz confession it seems investigators were working to build a case against Bob Bashara. They let it be known that he was still the focus of their investigation. They finally charged him on April 13th and he was arraigned on May 1st. It is unclear whether he was released on bail or the next events happened inside the jail. But, in June a man by the name of Steve Tibaudo who owned a local furniture store approached investigators with another story to tell. According to Tibaudo, Bob Bashara had approached him about finding someone to murder Joe Gentz. Tibaudo was asked if he was willing to wear a recording device and he agreed. On June 25, 2012 a recording was made in which Bob Bashara attempted to solicit the murder of Joe Gentz. In December of that year Bob would plead guilty to that charge and be sentenced to serve six to twenty years in prison for that charge.
To be fair it is unclear exactly what evidence the prosecutors had on Bob Bashara when he went to trial in December 2014 aside from the statements from Joe Gentz. While there is not a lot of specific information about the trial it was said that the prosecutors “paraded mistress after mistress” on the stand. The prosecutors theory was that Bob wanted to get rid of his “prude” of a wife so that he could pursue his “secret sex-crazed lifestyle.” They also alleged that as a “bonus” of sorts he thought he would receive the nearly $800,000 Jane had in a 401(k) account she had. Even one of his daughters testified against him although it is not clear what she had to say. On December 18, 2014 the jury convicted Bob Bashara in the first degree murder of his wife. The following month the judge sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole but that was not the end of the story.
It appears that soon after the trial Joe Gentz gave an affidavit to the judge claiming that he had committed perjury and only implicated Bob in the murder while under pressure from law enforcement. He was now saying that Bob was not involved. However, sometime after that Gentz was placed on a stand in a courtroom and while did not tell the original story, was now saying that he personally had murdered Barbara by strangling her while Bob held him at gunpoint.
In October 2016 the television show Crime Watch Daily did interviews with both Bob Bashara and Joe Gentz. Gentz simply says Bob did not hire him, but claimed that Bob was what he called a “master manipulator” and had forced him to kill Jane while Bob watched. For his part Bob would claim that the police set him up and did not like him for the simple fact that he rented to black people. Now, I would like for you as a reader to let this sink in for a second. Bob Bashara, who owned several property, presumably all over town by the sounds of things, claims that law enforcement in Detroit had a grudge against him because he rented to black people.... in Detroit. I had to stop myself from laughing out loud when I read that comment. Let me point out that while Wikipedia is not the be all and know all to every fact and sources it states that 63% of the officers employed in Detroit are black. The 2010 Census recorded that 82% of the population of Detroit were African-American. The fact that this seemed to be the best argument Bob Bashara could come up with to explain why he believed law enforcement had it out for him is laughable. And, do not let me forget to add that he also claims that the judge was “crooked.”
It appears that Bob Bashara filed an appeal seeking a new trial solely on the basis of ineffective counsel. It is one of the few cases I have not seen a written appeal published in some manner but according to a May 2018 article the appeal was denied and it only spanned one paragraph. At this point I would love to see it just because I have never seen such a short ruling. His own trial attorney, Lillian Diallo stated in the article, “he had a fair trial. It was over and above what's given to most defendants. Justice was fairly meted out in this case.” She also went on to say, “Bob Bashara always thinks he is the smartest person in the room. Good luck with that.” The only appeal that Bob Bashara has left is a habeas corpus and those are almost always denied.
For his part Joe Gentz was eventually sentenced to seventeen to twenty-eight years in prison after pleading guilty to second degree murder charges. The earliest that he may seek parole is in the year 2029. Few people are released on their first chance, if ever. If he is denied at all hearings his maximum release date is in March of 2040.