Gentz waives prelim in Bashara case

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 4, 2012

The man charged with murdering Grosse Pointe Park mother and marketing executive Jane Bashara, 56, will soon be back in court on those charges.


Joseph Gentz, 48, of Grosse Pointe Park, waived his right to a preliminary exam on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder during a hearing Oct. 4 in front of 36th District Court Chief Judge Kenneth King. He is now scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Oct. 11 in 3rd Circuit Court.


Gentz told King he understood his rights and was willing to waive the preliminary exam, which led to him being bound over for the circuit court appearance.


“The people will consent to the waiver,” Wayne County prosecuting attorney Lisa Lindsey told the judge.


Outside the court, Gentz’s court-appointed attorney, Susan Reed, said no negotiations are going on at this time on a plea deal with prosecutors. She said they’re still reviewing evidence in the case, but told reporters that a gag order means no one can share anything they receive from the prosecutors.


When asked if she might reach a plea agreement for her client, Reed said she hasn’t sat down yet to negotiate numbers or any specifics of that nature with prosecutors.


“I’m always hopeful to resolve a case in the best interest of my client,” she said.


Because the standard for a preliminary exam is “very low,” she said strategically there was no reason to hold it, which is one of the reasons why her client agreed to waive the hearing.


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 any involvement in his wife’s death, is currently being held on a $15 million cash or surety bond in the Wayne County Jail on a felony charge of solicitation of murder for allegedly paying someone to kill Gentz in jail. Bashara hadn’t been charged, as of press time, in connection with his wife’s murder.


Considering that Gentz has been charged with conspiracy, Reed acknowledged that it’s “very unusual” a second person hasn’t yet been charged in the Jane Bashara murder. As to whether she expected charges to come soon against someone else, Reed said that would be up to the prosecutors.


Reed visited Gentz in jail Sept. 30.


“I think he’s hanging in there as well as he can be,” she said.