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Bob Bashara, convicted of having wife killed, dies at 62

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Bob Bashara, who was convicted of having his wife killed in one of Metro Detroit's most notorious homicide cases, died Monday, the Michigan Department of Corrections confirmed.

Chris Gautz, an MDOC spokesman, said Bashara, 62, who had been an inmate at the department's prison in Whitmore Lake, died at an Ann Arbor area hospital.

"I cannot talk about the cause of death due to HIPAA, but in case you were wondering if it was COVID, I can’t say that due to the same privacy law," Gautz said in an email, "but I can tell you that there were no positive cases at the prison he was at."

Bashara was sentenced to life in prison for paying handyman Joseph Gentz to kill Jane Bashara in January 2012.

Barbara Naeyaert, Jane Bashara's great aunt, said, "This will finally give some closure for the kids and for the whole family."

Jane and Bob Bashara in Hawaii in 2011.

Naeyaert said Bashara had been on dialysis recently and had liver problems.

In late 2014, a jury found Bashara guilty on five counts, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"May his soul rest in peace," said Lillian Diallo, who was Bashara's attorney during his murder trial. "He had a tortured existence the last few years of his life, and hopefully he will be accepted into the arms of the Lord."

In January 2012, Jane Bashara’s body was found in the back of her Mercedes-Benz SUV in a Detroit alley. Bashara paid Gentz to murder his wife and was in the garage as Jane was being strangled.

The case made national headlines after it was revealed that Bashara, former president of the Grosse Pointe Rotary Club, lived a secret life as "Master Bob" in Detroit's bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic (BDSM) community.

Bob Bashara on the witness stand before Judge Vonda Evans at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.

Prosecutors said Bashara, who operated a sex dungeon beneath the former Hard Luck Lounge on property he owned near the Detroit-Grosse Pointe Park border, wanted his wife killed so he could collect $800,000 in her 401(k) account.

His plan, prosecutors said, was to purchase a house he dubbed "the cottage," where he would be served by multiple submissive women and live the BDSM lifestyle full-time.

Bashara was charged in June 2012 for trying to have Gentz killed after a furniture store owner wore a wire and recorded Bashara setting up the hit.

Bashara pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder and was serving a 20-year sentence when he was charged with h wife's murder.

Following a trial that featured 74 witnesses and 460 exhibits, Bashara was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison in January 2015. 

In September 2017, the Court of Appeals affirmed Bashara's conviction after litigation went through lower courts. The matter was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which in May 2018 declined to hear the case.

Last year, Bashara's attorney, Ronald Ambrose, filed a petition in U.S. District Court in Detroit to get his murder conviction overturned. The filing claimed Ryan Correctional Facility Warden Lee McRoberts was unlawfully detaining the former Grosse Pointe Park businessman.