No deal: Bashara's murder case headed to trial

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Robert Bashara will stand trial for the murder of his wife.

Attorneys in the case against the former Grosse Pointe Park businessman were ordered to court Wednesday to discuss a "potential resolution" in the case, but both prosecutors and Bashara's attorneys said there was no offer for a plea deal on the table.

Wayne Circuit Judge Vonda Evans earlier this month suggested Bashara consider whether to accept a resolution that was discussed privately in the judge's chambers.

Bashara is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Jan. 24, 2012, slaying of his wife, Jane Bashara. According to prosecutors, Bashara paid his handyman, Joseph Gentz, to kill Jane and leave her body inside her SUV in an alley on the east side of Detroit.

Bashara's trial is set to begin Oct. 6, although the parties are due in court Oct. 3 to discuss a witness list that Bashara's attorney, Lillian Diallo, said includes people who will testify that Gentz was aggressive with women and children.

Gentz is in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. He said he strangled Jane Bashara at the behest of Robert Bashara, whom he said threatened to kill him unless he followed orders.

Diallo said Wednesday that Bashara had no influence over Gentz, and that Gentz had a long history of abusing women and children, including a 2009 case in which he allegedly attacked a child.

"The theory in this case is that Mr. Gentz is a nice guy until he's made into a weapon," Diallo said. "But he's a weapon on his own."

Bashara in interviews repeatedly has denied any role in his wife's death, although he pleaded guilty in 2012 to trying to have Gentz killed in jail. He was sentenced to a minimum of a minimum of six years, eight months and up to 20 years in that case.

His earliest release date is February 24, 2019.

In an earlier decision, Evans ruled Bashara's involvement in the sexual bondage lifestyle could be admitted during trial, but not what Lindsey called an "obsession" he had with erotic asphyxiation. Bashara was strangled to death inside the couple's Grosse Pointe Park garage, but Evans said that had nothing to do with Bashara's affinity for that kind of sex.

Prosecutors say Bashara killed his wife so he could pursue his alternative lifestyle, in which he attended parties in a dungeon beneath a Detroit bar he owned. During the parties, he was known as "Master Bob."

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