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Tuesday
Feb192013

Handyman Sentenced in Killing for Hire

ABC News(DETROIT) -- A Michigan handyman who pleaded guilty to killing a suburban Detroit woman in a murder-for-hire scheme was sentenced Tuesday to 17 to 28 years in jail.

Joe Gentz claimed Grosse Pointe Park businessman Bob Bashara offered him money to kill his wife Jane. Jane Bashara was found strangled in her Mercedes SUV in Detroit in January 2012.

Bob Bashara denied involvement in his wife's murder and passed a polygraph test. However, he pleaded guilty in October to solicitation of murder charges for hiring a hit man to kill Gentz.

Prosecutors said Bashara wanted to prevent Gentz from testifying against him. Bashara was sentenced in December to six to 20 years in prison.

Gentz ultimately accepted a plea deal that mandated that he testify truthfully in the case. Gentz told police during his confession that Bob Bashara had offered to pay him and "forced" him to kill Jane.

At Bashara's sentencing in December, Gentz's attorney Susan Reed read a statement from her client.

"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's statement said. "I went to the police. No one believed me."

Reed told the Detroit Free Press Monday that Gentz, who reportedly has a below-average IQ, is "extremely remorseful and sorry for what he's put Jane Bashara's family through and what he's put his family through."

Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans issued Gentz's sentence Tuesday morning.

According to the Free Press, Evans indicated in court that she would have preferred to sentence Gentz to more time in prison, but ultimately followed the sentencing agreement that had been worked out by the prosecution and Reed.

Gentz, Evans said, "knew right from wrong and good from bad."

"The request was made and you wanted to obey the request of your master," Evans said, according to the Free Press.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio