(DETROIT) — Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., businessman Bob Bashara was sentenced Monday to six to 20 years in prison for hiring a hitman to kill his wife’s alleged murderer, to keep the man from testifying against him.
Bashara, 54, pleaded guilty in October to solicitation of murder charges for hiring a man to kill his former handyman, who allegedly confessed to killing Bashara’s wife but said the businessman paid him to do it.
“I know I absolutely did wrong, what I did was inexcusable, and I have no one to blame but myself,” Bashara said through tears in court Monday, according to ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit.
“I understand that I must pay before what I’ve done,” he said. “I absolutely stand before you and my family and the world to take responsibility for my actions.”
Bashara’s wife Jane was found strangled in her Mercedes SUV in January 2012, in Detroit.
Shortly after, Bashara’s handyman, Joe Gentz, confessed to the murder and told police that Bob Bashara had paid him to murder Jane.
Bashara denied involvement in his wife’s murder and passed a polygraph, but became the center of attention when multiple women stepped forward claiming that they had been with Bashara at S&M parties in a sex club in the basement of Bashara’s bar.
Local realtor Rachel Gillet, 50, also told police that she was Bashara’s girlfriend and that Jane Bashara had discovered their relationships just weeks before her murder.
Bashara’s attorney told reporters at the time that Bob and Jane Bashara had an open marriage. David Griem, Bashara’s lawyer, said that an “alternative lifestyle” did not incriminate Bashara in the murder.
Griem also acknowledged that Bashara and Gentz had talked the day before the murder, and that he could not account for Bashara’s whereabouts in the hours leading up to Jane’s killing. He denied, however, that Bashara was involved in Jane’s death.
In June, Bashara was arrested on charges that he arranged a hit on Gentz’s life. Prosecutors said Bashara paid a local furniture store owner $2,000 as a down payment to find someone to kill Gentz.
Gentz is charged will killing Bashara’s wife in January 2012. Susan Reed, a lawyer representing Gentz, read a statement from Gentz at the sentencing.
“I have been telling the truth from the beginning, Bob has used me and threatened me. He told me he had friends in the mafia and would have me killed,” Gentz’ statement said, according to WXYZ-TV. “I went to the police, no one believed me.”
Bashara will be credited 168 days for time already served.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News
Farida Fawzy, CNN
Grant Olsen, KSL.com
Madeleine Stix, CNN