(CBS/AP) DETROIT - Bob Bashara, a Michigan man who admits he tried to arrange the killing of a handyman charged with his wife's slaying, was sentenced to 80 months to 20 years in prison Monday.
Bashara, 55, said he was "truly and humbly sorry" for trying to have his former handyman, Joseph Gentz, killed in jail. "What I did was inexcusable, and I have no one to blame but myself," he said.
The body of Bashara's wife, marketing executive Jane Bashara, was found strangled in her Mercedes-Benz in a decrepit Detroit neighborhood last January. The initial investigation surrounding her death pointed to people close to the family.
Gentz, who was Bob Bashara's handyman, was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy. No co-conspirator has been named. Bob Bashara insists he had no role in his wife's death, but police have called him a person of interest.
In court Monday, assistant prosecutor Bob Moran told the judge that Bob Bashara tried to have Gentz killed to protect himself.
"Is this a man who hires someone out of vengeance or revenge because he's angry because someone confessed to taking his wife's life? No," Moran said.
In October, Bob Bashara pleaded guilty to soliciting Gentz's murder after he was secretly recorded discussing the scheme.
Gentz, who appeared in court as the victim of Bashara's crime, asked his attorney to read a statement to the judge.
"I have been telling the truth from the beginning," Gentz said in the statement. "Bob has used me and threatened me. He told me he had friends in the mafia and would have me killed. ...I was afraid for my life because he said he could get to me anywhere, even in jail. I am still in fear."
Gentz was returned to jail after the court hearing. The case against him in Jane Bashara's death is pending.
Bob Bashara will be eligible for parole after he serves the minimum term of 7-and-a-half years in prison.