Bob Bashara to Stand Trial for Solicitation of Murder
Bob Bashara was bound over to stand trial in Wayne County Circuit Court on charges that he tried to hire a hitman to murder the man accused of killing his wife, Jane Bashara.
Grosse Pointe Park businessman Bob Bashara was bound over Tuesday to stand trial in Wayne County Circuit Court for allegedly trying to hire a jailhouse hitman to murder the man charged with killing his wife.
Wayne County prosecutors called three witnesses during the nearly four-hour preliminary exam before 36th District Court Chief Judge Kenneth J. King.
The testimony of the witnesses portrayed Bashara as a man who sought out a hitman and was paranoid that his conversations were being recorded.
Over the course of three meetings with Steve Tibaudo, the owner of Steve's Furniture and Appliances on East Warren and Chalmers in Detroit, Bashara is alleged to set up the hit of Joe Gentz in the Wayne County Jail.
Joe Gentz is a handyman who is facing charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder of Jane Bashara, Bob Bashara's wife.
"He said he needed to have Mr. Gentz taken care of before he went to his hearing for his competency," Tibaudo testified about the meeting he had with Bashara in the basement of a St. Clair Shores apartment complex Bashara owned. "Can you arrange to have some take care of him (Joe Gentz) ... he wanted him killed."
The conversation on June 19 in St. Clair Shores, along with meetings June 23 and 25 at the furniture store, were recorded and played during the preliminary exam.
At each of the meetings, Bashara checked to see if Tibaudo was cooperating with the police by hugging him, patting him down and even asking him point blank if he was wired.
"I said it is against my religion to wear a wire, I am Scilian," he said.
During the second meeting, they agreed upon a $20,000 price for the hit. And each time he would discuss the hit, he would lower his voice, which sounded muffled on the recordings.
But Bashara was again skeptical, and told Tibaudo, "If you are wearing a wire, shoot me now."
They also set up a phrase that would trigger the operation when Bashara would complain about a refrigerator.
On June 25, five months to the day from when Jane Bashara's body was found, they met again and Bashara handed over $2,000.
"He said he needed it done ASAP," Tibaudo testified.
Bahsara also requested a reciept, which Tibaudo wrote out for appliances. Grosse Pointe Park police arrested him a short time later that day.
Two other employees of the furniture store confirmed Bashara sought out Tibaudo.
Stephen Cobb said Bashara was at the store on Feb. 29 looking for the owner. Edward Fahner also said Bashara was at the store, and was banging on the door looking for Tibaudo.
Fahner stated that Bashara told him, "I hope Steve doesn't throw me under the bus because I wouldn't do that to him."
Prosecutor Robert Moran said the testimony, and recordings, showed Bashara solicited Tibaudo to have Gentz killed in jail. Defense attorney David Griem countered stating that the prosecution did not meet the "low burden" of proof.
"What is clear to this court is that the people have met the burden of probable cause," King said in binding Bashara over to stand trial.
He will remain jailed on $15 million cash-only bond and will be arraigned in Wayne County Circuit Court on July 31.
Prior to the start of the preliminary exam, Griem attempted to have the preliminary exam adjourned to allow new defense attorney Mark Kriger to represent Bashara in the preliminary exam once his case in U.S. District Court is complete.
"If (Bashara) was to retain new counsel, he would assist you," King stated before denying the motion.
Following the proceedings, Griem believed a motion would be filed by Kriger to have case remanded back to 36th District Court.