Competency hearing rescheduled for Bashara murder suspect

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published May 4, 2012


A competency hearing for murder suspect Joseph John Gentz, 48, of Grosse Pointe Park was adjourned the morning of May 4 in 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles’ courtroom.

Gentz was arraigned March 5 on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Jan. 25 slaying of Jane Bashara, 56, of Grosse Pointe Park. He reportedly confessed his involvement to police, but he is said to have told them that he killed Jane Bashara at the behest of her husband, Bob Bashara. Bob Bashara has insisted he had no involvement in his wife’s killing, and although police have called him a “person of interest” in the case, neither he nor anyone else besides Gentz had been charged in the crime at press time.

Gentz wasn’t present for the hearing, but his court-appointed attorney, Susan Reed, was in the courtroom, along with attorney Paul Sinutko from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. Reed said they were still awaiting records from several sources, including hospitals, before the competency hearing process and report could be completed. She told the judge they needed at least another four weeks to finish all of the needed exams.

A defendant has a statutory right to a preliminary exam within 14 days of being formally charged, but Reed said in this case, there was good cause as to why that hasn’t happened. The delay between Gentz’s arraignment and preliminary exam was one of the issues raised by Giles.

At press time, Gentz’s competency hearing was rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 11 to give the Forensic Center time to come up with their findings. Reed said her client remains in custody at the William Dickerson Detention Facility in Hamtramck. She said Gentz is doing “as well as could be expected for being incarcerated.”

As to whether her client might be seeking a plea deal, Reed told reporters she wasn’t able to discuss that prospect.