Joe Gentz Arrested in Bashara Homicide
St. Clair Shores man is arrested Friday afternoon in the slaying of Jane Bashara of Grosse Pointe Park.
Gentz was appearing in Macomb County Circuit Court in an unrelated child custody matter when the arrest was made, according to Macomb County Sherriff's Office.
Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham confirmed deputies at the court assisted in the arrest of Gentz. He cooperated, and was turned over to law enforcement personnel from Wayne County.
Her husband, Bob Bashara, has been called a person of interest in her death, but he has denied being involved and thanked the community for its support of his family.
Gentz had visited Grosse Pointe Park police shortly after Jane Bashara's death and told police he was an accomplice. He was not charged then and was released.
His arrest may have been spurred by the return of evidence gathered from the Bashara home during a second search nearly two weeks after the investigation began. The evidence was being processed by Michigan State Police and officials expected the results back this week. Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Director David Hiller told Patch Thursday that investigators are still working the case heavily.
David Griem, Bob Bashara's attorney, said Friday afternoon that he had no prior knowledge of Gentz's arrest. Gentz had been a handyman for Bob Bashara, working on rental properties Bashara owned. There was a disagreement between the two men about the amount of money Gentz believed he was owed, Griem has said.
Bashara told Griem he is "feeling a profound sense of relief, especially for his children, that Joe Gentz is now off the street."
At the same time, Griem asked "What took so long?" for the arrest to occur — especially after Gentz is said to have admitted to the crime.
Griem said his client has not met with police or prosecutors since the initial conversations following the strangulation of Jane Bashara.
"Robert Bashara has consistently told the world that he is willing and able to cooperate with the authorities any way he can," he said.
On Friday afternoon, Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutors Office, released an email statement saying the Jane Bashara homicide case is still under investigation and her office has no further comment.
Watch Patch for more updates on this story.