December 13, 2012DETROIT — Bob Bashara was sentenced Monday to 80 months to 20 years in prison for attempting to hire a hit man to kill Joseph Gentz.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Bruce Morrow handed down the sentence, apparently unmoved by Bashara's tearful plea that he was "ashamed" by his actions in trying to kill Gentz, the man charged with the January murder of Bob's wife, Jane Bashara.
"These words are true and sincere," Bashara told the court, his voice breaking. "I know what I did was wrong. I have no one to blame but myself. I understand this was a crime and I will regret it for the rest of my life. I am ashamed of what I did and I can't tell you how regretful I am of my actions."
Bashara broke down several times while reading his statement, his voice shaking as he spoke of being abandoned by his friends and of his concerns for his family.
"I made a promise to my grandfather to be there for my mother in her senior years," he said. "I ask that you offer me some leniency."
Wayne County assistant prosecutor John Moran urged Morrow to set a sentence of at least five years, saying Bashara lacked remorse, that Bashara's work for community organizations did not give him a blank check to commit a crime and alleging Bashara attempted to influence a letter of support sent on his behalf from Matrix Human Services by offering to donate a house to the organization.
Gentz, a handyman who had done work for Bashara and who goes on trial in January for the murder of Jane Bashara, was in the courtroom when Bashara's sentence was handed down. His attorney, Susan Reed, read a statement written by Gentz.
"I have been telling the truth since the beginning," Gentz wrote in his statement. "Bob has used me and threatened me. He told me he had friends in the Mafia. I was afraid for my life because he said he could get to me anywhere, even in jail. I went to the police, but no one believed me. I'm still in fear. I don't feel safe anywhere."
Bashara pleaded guilty to the solicitation to murder charge in October. He was arrested in June after he was taped offering an appliance store owner, Steve Tibaudo, $20,000 to kill Gentz. Tibaudo had gone to police shortly after Bashara talked to him about having Gentz killed, and police had Tibaudo wear a wire for future conversations with Bashara.
Gentz, who told police Bashara paid him $2,500 to kill his wife, has been charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. If convicted, both charges carry a sentence of mandatory life in prison without parole. Bashara was named a person of interest in the death of his wife, but has never been charged in that crime.
Bashara, who has been held since his arrest in the Wayne County jail, was transferred Monday afternoon to the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections. He will be held at the MDOC reception facility in Jackson for about 30 days where he will be evaluated before being assigned a facility where he will serve out his term.
Bashara's mother was in the courtroom for the sentencing, and she was allowed to visit privately with him. The family declined comment.