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Gentz: Sentenced Today in Bashara Homicide

The former handyman turned hired hitman will be sentenced this morning before a Wayne Circuit Court judge in downtown Detroit. Check back later this morning for an update.

Nearly a year after Joe Gentz was officially arrested in the January 2012 strangulation death of Jane E. Bashara, he will be sentenced. 

Gentz, formerly of St. Clair Shores and most recently of Grosse Pointe Park, pleaded guilty in December to second-degree murder--the same day his trial was to begin. 

During his guilty plea, he said he killed Jane E. Bashara, of Grosse Pointe Park, at the behest of her husband, Bob Bashara, who offered him money and threatened him.

Jane Bashara was a marketing executive in Detroit and well known in the Grosse Pointes for her volunteerism and her supportive friendship. Her body was found in the backseat of her SUV in Detroit in late January 2012.

Originally he was charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder--a charge implies a second person was involved. No one else has been charged in Jane Bashara's death. 

With the plea, Gentz faces 17 to 28 years in prison rather than up to life. He is scheduled to appear before Judge Vonda Evans this morning for sentencing.

Gentz underwent two psychological evaluations during the last year to determine his competency to stand trial on the charges. He was found competent both times.  

Meanwhile, Bob Bashara is currently serving a prison sentence for hiring a hitman to kill Gentz while he was incarcerated on the original charges.

The sentencing this morning will bring to an end the intense media coverage of the case that drew national media attention to an otherwise quiet, close-knit community that was left repeatedly shocked as details were continually revealed while the investigation evolved. 

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