Judge Rules Joe Gentz Competent to Stand Trial in Jane Bashara Homicide
A second competency evaluation completed by a private doctor found similar findings to that of the state doctor regarding Joe Gentz, who is charged in the January strangulation death of Jane Bashara.
While Joe Gentz does have some intellectual deficits, none are so severe as to impact his decisions and understanding of the charges he is facing in the January strangulation death of Jane Bashara, according to findings by a second, private forensic psychologist who evaluated him.
The findings were released Wednesday afternoon in 36th District Court by Gentz's court-appointed attorney, Susan Reed. The psychologist, Charles R. Clark, found that Gentz does not exhibit signs of bipolar disorder, which had been a diagnosis earlier in his life. Nor does Gentz exhibit signs of psychosis or other psychiatric impairments, according to the findings Reed read in court.
Gentz demonstrated behavior and attention during the evaluation that the doctor considered normal and while "intellectual deficiencies do impact his life" none are so extreme that he does not understand his environment.
"(Gentz) is capable of making reasonable choices," Reed read from Clark's report, which went on to say he recalls the events associated with Jane Bashara, he understands the charges against him and has an elementary understanding of his rights.
He is charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, both of which carry sentences of up to life in prison.
The findings by Clark were similar to those of a state doctor who evaluated Gentz earlier this year—a point emphasized by deputy prosecuting attorney Lisa Lindsey on Wednesday.
Chief Judge of 36th District Court Kenneth J. King agreed with the findings of both doctors, declaring Gentz competent to stand trial. He scheduled a hearing for the preliminary exam in the case for Aug. 13.
After the hearing, Reed said outside the courthouse that now she intends to begin negotiations with the prosecutor's office on behalf of Gentz. She said negotiations have not begun thus far because of the pending competency evaluations. She requested the second evaluation to ensure Gentz protection if he had indeed had a psychological problem.
Gentz remains housed in the Dickerson Lockup facility in isolation, where he was placed after officials discovered Bob Bashara had allegedly attempted to hire a hitman to kill Gentz while incarcerated.
Bob Bashara—the widower of Jane Bashara—is now being housed in the Wayne County Jail on $15 million cash-only bond on a charge of solicitation to murder, which carries a prison term of up to life.
Though he was named as a "person of interest" in Jane Bashara's homicide in the days after her body was found, Bob Bashara has not been charged in that case. The solicitation charge lodged against him however is similar to the story Gentz told police regarding Jane Bashara's homicide—that Bob Bashara hired him to kill his wife for cash.
Bob Bashara is due back in 36th District Court on July 24 for a preliminary exam hearing. His attorney, David Griem, has told media that he believes Bob Bashara was set up and that the competency evaluations of Gentz have been intended to buy time for negotiations related to Gentz. Reed denies this, however.