DETROIT — A Detroit-area businessman paid a handyman to kill his wife because he was having an affair and didn't want his wife around anymore but wanted her money, a prosecutor said Tuesday at the outset of the businessman's murder trial.
Joe Gentz beat and strangled Jane Bashara at her home in Grosse Pointe Park two years ago, but her husband, Bob Bashara, hired Gentz to do it, assistant Wayne County prosecutor Lisa Lindsey said during opening statements.
"Make no mistake: Joe (Gentz) did the physical act of killing ... and DNA will prove that," Lindsey said. "But he did it under the direction and control of the defendant."
Bashara, 56, denies that he had anything to do with the death of his wife, whose body was found in a car in a Detroit alley. He is in prison for trying to have Gentz killed in jail.
Defense attorney Lillian Diallo told jurors that Bashara is glad to finally get his day in court.
"This is the day, believe it or not, that Mr. Bashara has been waiting for — the day to get his side of the story out," Diallo said during her opening statement.
Bashara is charged with first-degree murder and five other counts. He hired Gentz to do odd jobs at some of his rental properties before he persuaded him to kill his wife, investigators contend.
Gentz is in prison for second-degree murder. He said Friday he will not testify at Bashara's trial.
Prosecutors say Jane Bashara was the primary breadwinner in the family and that Bob Bashara wanted her out of the way because he was involved in a sadomasochistic relationship with another woman and he didn't want to lose access to his wife's money.