(GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich.) — Bob Bashara, the Michigan man whose wife was found strangled to death in January, was ordered held in jail on $15 million bond Wednesday for allegedly arranging a hit on the handyman who confessed to killing his wife.
Prosecutors painted a portrait of Bashara, 54, of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., as a man who is “unraveling” and a “substantial danger to the community.” They claimed he began “yelling and ranting” to his mother-in-law during a phone call last month and also led his longtime girlfriend, Rachel Gillett, into hiding out of fear for her safety.
Bashara was arrested on Monday after investigators said they had video and audio of Bashara attempting a hit on his former handyman, Joe Gentz, who confessed to killing Bashara’s wife, Jane.
Bashara allegedly tried to make a deal with an employee at Gentz’s furniture store to kill the man, paying $2,000 for the hit and even signing a receipt, sources told ABC News.
Prosecutors on Wednesday alleged that Bashara also tried to hire at least one other person to commit the murder and that two other people, including Gillett, who obtained a restraining order against him in May, may also have been on his target list.
Gillett’s attorney, Doraid Elder, said after Bashara’s arrest Monday that her client was “very afraid” and worried that she might be Bashara’s next target after his arrest.
Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey said in court on Wednesday that Bashara threatened tenants of a rental property he owns that he’d “throw them out of the mother-bleeping complex if they dared to talk to police” and that Grosse Pointe Park police saw him digging through Gillett’s trash after she filed the personal protection order against Bashara.
Bashara’s wife, Jane, a marketing executive, was found strangled in the backseat of her Mercedes in a Detroit alley on Jan. 25, hours after her husband reported her missing.
Attention quickly turned to her husband, who repeatedly broke down in tears and denied any involvement in his wife’s death.
Gentz turned himself in to authorities shortly after the discovery of Jane’s body. He has been behind bars since March and is awaiting trial.
On Wednesday, Lindsey indicated that Bashara remains a “person of interest” in his wife’s death.
Bashara’s attorney, David Griem, responded to his client’s arrest by saying he was framed.
“We think we have figured out who that person is who set him up,” Griem said.
“Police wanted a warrant,” Griem added after Wednesday’s hearing. “They could not get a warrant on Bob Bashara regarding the death of Jane Bashara but they found another way to get a warrant.”
The charge of solicitation of murder carries a penalty of up to life in prison. Bashara’s next court appearance has been scheduled for July 24.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Wayne Drash and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN
Aria Hangyu Chen, Special to CNN
John Newsome, CNN
Steve Visser, CNN