Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

December 11, 2012

Man gets prison in hitman scheme

DETROIT (AP) — A man who said he tried to arrange the killing of a handyman charged with his wife's slaying was sentenced to more than six years in prison Monday, the latest step in a strange saga in a comfortable Detroit suburb.

Robert Bashara, 55, said he was "truly and humbly sorry" for trying to have Joseph Gentz killed in jail.

"What I did was inexcusable, and I have no one to blame but myself," he said while repeatedly pausing to dab his eyes.

The body of his wife, marketing executive Jane Bashara, was found strangled in her Mercedes-Benz in a decrepit Detroit neighborhood last January, miles from their home in Grosse Pointe Park. The killing stoked fears of a random abduction, but the investigation soon focused on people close to the family.

Gentz, who was Robert Bashara's handyman, was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy. No co-conspirator has been named. Bashara insists he had no role in her death, but police have called him a person of interest.

Assistant prosecutor Robert Moran added to the intrigue Monday when he told the judge that Bashara tried to have Gentz killed to protect himself.

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