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BREAKING NEWS: Bashara tried to have handyman killed


October 11, 2012
Bob Bashara pleaded guilty to trying to hire a hit man to kill Joe Gentz. He will be sentenced Tuesday, Nov. 20 and faces up to 11 years in prison.

The plea came in a surprise move by Bashara and his attorney, Mark Kriger. Bashara was scheduled to go to trial for solicitation to murder on Monday, Nov. 12. Instead, a hastily-arranged pretrial hearing was scheduled Thursday, Oct. 11, at which time Bashara admitted to Wayne County Circuit Judge Bruce Morrow he attempted to hire a hit man to kill Gentz.

In a written statement he read to the judge, Bashara admitted he "foolishly and regrettably" offered to pay appliance store owner Steve Tibaudo to find someone to kill Gentz.

Gentz, a handyman who did work for Bashara on his rental properties, has been charged with the January murder of Jane Bashara in the Bashara family house on Middlesex in Grosse Pointe Park. He also has been charged with co-conspiracy in the case, but no co-conspirator has been named. Bob Bashara has been named as a person of interest, but has not been charged in his wife's death.

Gentz was to have been arraigned in Wayne County Circuit Court on Thursday on the charges, but his hearing was postponed until Tuesday, Oct. 16.

According to prosecutors, Bashara had approached Tibaudo earlier this summer, offering to pay him to find someone willing to kill Gentz, who was in jail at the Dickerson Correctional Facility in Hamtramck. Tibaudo went to police, who arranged for him to wear a recording device.

Tibaudo told the court that he was wearing a wire during several of his conversations with Bashara. Several of the tapes were played in court. On one of the tapes, Tibaudo could be heard counting out $2,000 Bashara had given him as down payment toward the $20,000 Tibaudo had requested.

Bashara maintains he had nothing to do with the death of his wife. Her body was found the morning of Jan. 25 in the backseat of her SUV parked in an alley on Detroit's east side. She had been strangled.