Michigan bondage master gets life in prison in wife's death
Jan. 15, 2015
DETROIT (AP) — Calling him a "master of manipulation," a judge sentenced a former Rotary Club president to life in prison Thursday for arranging his wife's killing so he could devote more time to cavorting with other women who shared his love for sexual bondage and domination.
"You lived in two worlds," Wayne County Judge Vonda Evans told Bob Bashara. "Light — your family, community and friends. And darkness where your lies were your truth and your truth was a lie. ... I have no mercy for you."
Bashara, 57, known as "Master Bob," repeatedly declared his innocence. He crossed himself and dabbed his eyes as Jane Bashara's sister and mother spoke about the pain they've experienced in the three years since she was found dead in her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit alley, miles from the couple's home in Grosse Pointe Park, an upper class suburb.
It initially appeared that the marketing executive had been killed at random. But the investigation soon revealed her death was not by chance. Prosecutors said Bob Bashara coerced a handyman with a low IQ to strangle his wife in the family garage and to abandon the body in Detroit.
It turned out that Bashara was living a double life — a Rotary president and son of a late judge who dabbled in bondage and domination in a sex dungeon under a bar called the Hard Luck Lounge.
Jurors heard from Bashara's mistress as well as other women from Oregon and Chicago.
"Master Bob — master of manipulation," the judge told Bashara in a mocking tone.
Bashara, however, was defiant at the hearing, declaring, "I loved my Jane dearly."
"I did not murder her. I did not conspire with anyone. ... I will never stop fighting for justice and truth until my hands are raw, blood comes from my eyes and I take my last breath," he said in court.
Earlier, Bashara complained about his portrayal during the trial as a "monster."
In Michigan, crime victims can speak before a defendant is sentenced. Jane Bashara's mother, Lorraine Engelbrecht, said she thinks about Bashara "someday burning in hell."
"Every day of my life I ask, 'Why didn't he just go and live his scummy dungeon life and leave my daughter and my grandchildren alone?'" Engelbrecht said.
The handyman, Joe Gentz, 51, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was expected to be a star witness at Bashara's trial, but he backed out in October.
Bashara is already in prison. He pleaded guilty to trying to have Gentz killed in jail in 2012.
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