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December 17, 2012

Gentz to face ‘special pretrial’ hearing Dec. 21

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

Defendant Joseph Gentz will face at least one more court appearance before his jury trial gets under way in January on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the January 2012 slaying of Jane Bashara.

During what had been billed as a final calendar conference in the case Dec. 14 in 3rd Circuit Court Judge Vonda Evans’ courtroom, Wayne County prosecuting attorneys Robert Moran and Lisa Lindsey and defense attorney Susan Reed met briefly with the judge in her chambers before agreeing to hold a “special pretrial” hearing at 9 a.m. Dec. 21 in Evans’ courtroom.

“I look forward to doing that,” Evans told the attorneys with regard to the special hearing.

Exactly what the special pretrial hearing means wasn’t clear at press time, although some have speculated Gentz could be agreeing to a plea deal — something Reed had said previously she had been trying to obtain for her client. Officially, it’s been labeled a special pretrial conference because a pretrial conference was already held.

After the calendar conference, Reed slipped out of the court building without speaking to reporters, and the prosecutors weren’t commenting on the case.

Gentz reportedly told police that he killed Jane Bashara in her garage Jan. 24 at the behest of her husband, Robert Bashara. Gentz is currently being held in the William Dickerson facility in Hamtramck, where he’s being kept in isolation for his safety.

Bashara, who has denied playing a role in his wife’s death and has not been charged in connection with her killing, pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder for trying to hire a hit man to kill Gentz in jail. For that offense, Bashara was sentenced to 6-20 years in a state prison Dec. 10 by 3rd Circuit Court Judge Bruce U. Morrow. He spent his 55th birthday Dec. 12 at the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson. According to the Michigan Department of Corrections website, Bashara will remain incarcerated until at least Feb. 24, 2019. If he serves his full sentence, he won’t be out of prison until June 24, 2032.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.