Woman says Bashara asked her to slam slain wife online

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit – A former Chicago police officer who met Robert Bashara on a kinky website testified Tuesday that he asked her to lie after his wife, Jane, was killed, and to sully her name online.

Therese Giffin, who spent 10 years on the Chicago police force, was one of two witnesses Tuesday in Bashara's murder-for-hire trial, now in its fifth week of testimony.

Prosecutors say Bashara had his wife killed so he could pursue a bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic lifestyle. Bashara is accused of hiring his handyman, Joseph Gentz, to carry out the murder.

Giffin met Bashara on the website alt.com in 2010 when Bashara and his girlfriend, Rachel Gillett, were looking for a third woman to join them in a polygamous relationship. Giffin's screen name on the site was "Obedient Slave."

After Jane Bashara's January 24, 2010, slaying, Giffin said Bashara asked her to lie to police and prosecutors about how they'd met. Giffin, who was given immunity for her testimony, said she told investigators several lies, including her claim that she'd never visited Bashara's sex dungeon beneath property he owned on Mack Avenue near the Detroit-Grosse Pointe Park border.

Weeks after the killing, a now-defunct website, the Hinky Meter, began posting blog items from alt.com written by Bashara and Gillett, including their ads looking for a third woman, and blog posts by Gillett.

On Tuesday, Giffin said Bashara was concerned that police might be monitoring the website. He also asked her to post things on the site "making Jane not look so good...that she could've possibly had a boyfriend, and he (killed her)."

Giffin added: "It would make (police) look in another direction and not at him."

Giffin said she did as Bashara asked, but that the moderator of the Hinky Meter deleted her posts.

When Wayne Circuit Judge Vonda Evans asked Giffin why she lied for Bashara, the witness said: "I truly believed that he was innocent, and I thought I was helping him.

"He was going to make me his slave...when he cleared his name," Giffin added.

Also Tuesday, snippets of jailhouse phone calls between Bashara and Giffin were played for the jury, in which Bashara implored her to contact Gillett and "let her have it" because his former girlfriend wasn't standing by him.

Tuesday's first witness was Lt. James Hoshaw, who said he was on duty the night of Jan. 30-31, 2012, when two men came into the police station with what he called a "vague" story about something Gentz had done. Gentz was outside the station smoking a cigarette, Hoshaw said.

When Gentz entered the station, "he indicated that he was in fear for his life," Howshaw said. "I placed him in protective custody."

Gentz later pleaded guilty to strangling Jane Bashara in her garage, but claimed he did so at the behest of the victim's husband, Robert Bashara. Gentz was convicted of second-degree murder and is serving a 17- to 28-year prison sentence.

As part of Gentz's plea deal, he agreed to testify in the Bashara trial if requested to do so. Before the trial began last month, Gentz said he wanted his sentence reduced to five years, or else he said he wouldn't testify. Prosecutors rejected his request.

Although Gentz has not yet testified in Bashara's trial, he has played a central role in the proceedings. His friends and acquaintances have testified that he told them he was being paid to kill someone.

Bashara is on trial for first-degree murder. He already pleaded guilty to conspiring to have Gentz killed in jail, and is serving up to 20 years in prison.

Bashara appeared in court Tuesday wearing dark glasses. He said he had surgery on his right eye Monday.

"The glasses help because of my sensitivity to light," Bashara told the judge. "Hopefully tomorrow I won't have to wear them."

ghunter@detroitnews.com

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