Bashara ordered to trial in wife's death

DETROIT (AP) -- A judge last Friday ordered a man to trial on a first-degree murder charge in his wife's death after a week of testimony about a sex dungeon and alternative lifestyles in a comfortable Detroit suburb.

Prosecutors claim Robert Bashara had his wife killed so he could live a new life with another woman who referred to him as "Master Bob." He regularly met women in a sex dungeon in the basement of a bar, the Hard Luck Lounge.

"This is way too bizarre," 36th District Court Judge Kenneth King said.

Jane Bashara, 56, was severely beaten and strangled at their Grosse Pointe Park home in January 2012. Her body was found in her Mercedes-Benz, which was abandoned in a bleak Detroit neighborhood. Bashara, 55, has repeatedly denied any role during media interviews.

"A husband is supposed to protect," the judge said. "There is supposed to be trust in a relationship."

Every twist in the case has made headlines. The victim was a marketing executive in the utility industry, and Bashara, the son of a late appeals court judge, owned rental properties and was active in business groups in the Grosse Pointe area.

A handyman, Joe Gentz, is in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. He didn't testify but has said Bashara threatened to kill him unless he followed orders and killed Jane Bashara.

A key witness last week was Bashara's mistress, Rachel Gillett. She said he talked about getting out of his marriage and living a different lifestyle. They both attended a candlelight vigil after Jane Bashara's death.

Bashara is in prison. He pleaded guilty last year to trying to have Gentz killed in jail.

Published: Tue, Sep 17, 2013