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Bashara: 'They think I killed my wife'

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — During a gathering immediately after Jane Bashara's funeral, her husband said he expected to be in jail soon, according to testimony Tuesday.

Jane Bashara's friend, Sandra Ennis, who worked with her at DTE EnergyCo., was one of six witnesses who testified Tuesday during Robert Bashara's murder-for-hire trial.

Ennis said on the day of the funeral, she told Bashara she hoped she could still attend a Rotary Club function the following week.

She said Bashara replied: "I might be in jail ... they think I killed my wife."

Bashara is accused of hiring his handyman, Joseph Gentz, to kill his wife, so he could pursue a bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic lifestyle.

Gentz has pleaded guilty to the murder but said he did so because Bashara ordered him to at gunpoint. Bashara is serving up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to trying to have Gentz killed in jail.

Home inspector James Krausmann, who began testifying Monday, was the day's first witness Tuesday. He said he complied with Bashara's request to write up fake invoices for homes he'd inspected for Bashara and his girlfriend, Rachel Gillett.

Also Tuesday, Bashara's former tenant testified that he seemed intent on establishing that he was at one of his rental properties the night Jane Bashara was killed.

Missy Keller, who rented an apartment above the Hard Luck Lounge - and two floors above the sex dungeon Bashara operated in the basement of the building on Mack Ave. - also said her former landlord jokingly offered to give her a spanking in lieu of a fee for being late on the rent.

Keller said she looked out her window the night of the slaying and saw Bashara sweeping the back lot - something she said he'd never done before.

She said Bashara later asked her and a friend to confirm they'd seen him at the property that night - and, she said, he added without prompting, "That he did not kill his wife, and he hoped he wouldn't go down for something someone else did."

Also testifying Tuesday was Detroit Police Homicide detective Moises Jimenez, who went to the east-side alley where Jane Bashara's body was left inside her Mercedes sport-utility vehicle.

Jimenez said the way the victim was placed inside the vehicle, with her slippers, keys, purse and pill bottle sitting out, led him to believe the scene had been "staged," and that the killing hadn't happened there.

The detective also said leaves found on Jane Bashara's sock were similar to leaves found in Bashara's garage when he searched the home three days after the killing.

An assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner also testified, and the jury was shown the victim's autopsy pictures, although Bashara, the media and others in the courtroom could not see the photos.

Dr. Francisco Diaz, who conducted the autopsy, said the victim had bruising from the top of her head to her upper chest, and that her windpipe was crushed. She had been beaten and strangled, he said.