Gentz to Serve 17 to 28 years in Prison in Bashara Homicide
The former handyman who admitted in December to killing Grosse Pointe Park resident Jane Bashara in January 2012 will serve 17 to 28 years in prison after being sentenced Tuesday morning in Wayne Circuit Court.
In approximately 15 minutes, Joe Gentz apologized for killing Jane Bashara, her sister asked that he be held accountable and Wayne Circuit Court Judge Vonda Evans sentenced him to 17 to 28 years in prison Tuesday.
Gentz pleaded guilty in December to second-degree murder in the strangulation death of Jane Bashara. Originally he was charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, carrying potential life in prison sentences.
Evans highlighted the lack of thought by Gentz about whether it was wrong to kill Bashara. She followed plea agreement guidelines established by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and his defense attorney, Susan Reed.
He will serve no less than 17 years and no more than 28 years.
Gentz underwent two psychological evaluations to determine his competency to stand trial on the charges. Both evaluations determined he was competent but showed his understanding was simplified.
Bashara's homicide investigation remains open but no one else has been charged. Her husband, Bob Bashara, was identified as a "person of interest" early in the investigation.
He is now serving a prison term for hiring a hitman to kill Gentz while he was incarcerated by Wayne County Sheriff's Department to prevent him from testifying.
When Gentz originally went to Grosse Pointe Park police in the days after Jane Bashara's body was found, he reported that Bob Bashara hired him to kill his wife offering cash and threatening him. Gentz performed handyman work for Bob Bashara's many rental properties in the metro area.
Exactly five months after Jane Bashara's body was found, Bob Bashara was arrested outside of a Grosse Pointe Park restaurant on Mack Avenue for hiring the hitman to kill Gentz--essentially repeating what Gentz reported to police happened in Jane Bashara's death.
In addition to prison time, the plea agreement calls for Gentz to testify truthfully in any proceeding going forward. He has not yet been called to testify against anyone else as no others have been charged.
Wayne County Prosecutor's spokeswoman Maria Miller said Tuesday via email that Jane Bashara's case remains active but no updates are forthcoming as of Tuesday.