Reporting Mike Campbell
DETROIT (WWJ) – Handyman Joseph Gentz has pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the death of Grosse Pointe mother and marketing executive Jane Bashara.
Gentz will be sentenced January 29 to a minimum of 17 years and a maximum of 28 years in prison.
Speaking to the court on Friday, Gentz said the victim’s husband, Bob Bashara, said he must kill Jane Bashara or Gentz himself would be harmed. “Bob Bashara offered me money … he threatened me if I did not kill her. I killed Jane Bashara because Bob Bashara offered me money and threatened to kill me,” Gentz said.
In a deal with prosecutors, Gentz offered the guilty plea in exchange for his testimony in any upcoming trial related to this case. If Gentz had been convicted of first degree murder as charged he would have spent life in prison. Gentz was also charged with conspiracy in Jane Bashara’s death, but that charge was dropped as part of the deal.
Bob Bashara has been called a suspect in his wife’s slaying, but has not been charged in her death. He was sentenced last week to 80 months to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to hiring a hit man to kill Gentz in jail.
Last week, Assistant prosecutor Robert Moran told reporters Bob Bashara wanted to kill someone who is a potential witness against him. But, in a statement Friday, Assistant Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said, while the Jane Bashara homicide case remains under investigation, no other charges are expected at this time.
The body of Jane Bashara, 56, was found in her Mercedes-Benz SUV parked in an alley at a Detroit alley on Jan. 25. Her husband had reported her missing the night before. An autopsy showed she’d been strangled.
Bob Bashara continues to deny he played any role in his wife’s death. He’s currently imprisoned.