Police say a Detroit-area man was caught on tape trying to hire someone to kill the hitman who killed his wife, according to media reports.
Authorities arrested Bob Bashara of Grosse Pointe Park on Monday and charged him with solicitation of murder, prosecutors said in a news conference, NBC station WDIV reported. The Detroit Free Press reported that he was arrested at a property he owned that police said had a sex dungeon in the basement.
Officials allege Bashara offered to pay someone to murder Joseph Gentz, the man charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Jane Bashara, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told reporters that Bashara had several meetings with someone between June 8 and June 25 with the intention of hiring the person to kill Gentz in the detention facility where he's being held before his July 23 court date.
"We are alleging that this defendant, Mr. Bashara, met with another person, not a law enforcement official, on several occasions for the purpose of hatching a plan to kill Mr. Gentz in jail," Worthy said.
WDIV reported that the man whom Bashara is accused of soliciting to carry out the murder was cooperating with police and was wired for audio.
Worth said Bashara also met with a second person whom he wanted to kill Gentz, the paper reported.
The Free Press reported that Bashara was a person of interest in his wife's death after he failed a polygraph examination, but he hasn't been charged.
Jane Bashara was strangled in her SUV in January.
The station reported that sources said Gentz, who had been Bashara's handyman on several real estate deals, killed Jane Bashara on her husband's order.
David Griem, Bashara's attorney, told the paper that his client believes he was being set up.
"He was shocked, he was surprised, he didn't know why he had been arrested," Griem told the paper.
He said Bashara told him before being transferred to a county jail, "David, this is a setup."
Griem told the paper that Bashara said he believes the person trying to set him up is someone he knows, but not well. Griem said Bashara thinks it's someone who sold furniture and appliances to him.
Griem said a man approached Bashara several times about the idea of killing Gentz, but turned him down each time.
Gentz's attorney, Susan Reed, told the paper she alerted officials that her client was in danger when someone told her about the plot against him. She didn't suspect Bashara of being involved until he was arrested.
"It makes sense," she told the newspaper.
Gentz has been moved into segregation in jail for his own safety, the Free Press reported. WDIV reported that Bashara is on suicide watch in a county jail.
At Bashara's arraignment Wednesday, bail was set at $15 million, the Free Press reported.
If convicted, both Bashara and Gentz could each face up to life in prison.
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