GROSSE POINTE (WWJ) – An attorney for the husband of a slain Grosse Point Parke woman said the handyman charged in her death was under police scrutiny years ago for a similar strangulation situation.

Joseph Gentz, 42, was arrested Friday and charged Monday with First Degree Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the January killing of 56-year-old Jane Bashara.

David Griem, an attorney for Jane Bashara’s husband, Bob Bashara, said Gentz was on the radar three years ago.

“Joe Gentz, in 2009, tried to strangle another woman,” Griem told Talk Radio 1270 morning show host Charlie Langton. “I think that is quite the fact.”

[cbs-audio url=”″ name=”David Griem Talks Charges In Bashara Murder Case” artist=”Charlie Langton”]

Griem said the information is based on what Bob Bashara’s private investigators have found.

“I think Joe Gentz’s mental condition and his competency has been over played by the police because it fits their theory of the case. We’ve had two investigators out on this case for four weeks now, and the people they’ve talked to who know Joe Gentz indicate violent temper, not somebody you’d want to have be your neighbor, but not, you know, maybe not a rocket scientist but certainly somebody who could graduate from high school and lead a normal life,” said Griem.

Griem said the Bashara family is holding up as well as can be expected. He said his client has done nothing wrong, even though police haven’t cleared him as a person of interest in the case.

The body of Jane Bashara, a marketing executive and mother of two, was found in the back of her Mercedes-Benz SUV parked in an alley at Pinewood and Annott in Detroit on Jan. 25. Her husband reported her missing the night before. An autopsy showed that she had extensive bruising to her upper body, a crushed windpipe and missing fingernails.

Gentz, who had reportedly told Grosse Pointe Park investigators he was paid by her husband to kill Jane Bashara, spent three days with police last month, but was released without charges.

Because Gentz is facing a conspiracy charge, Langton said it’s almost certain that others will be charged in the case.

“Conspiracy means, by definition, that some other person. I cannot conspire with myself to commit murder. I need somebody else,” said Langton. “And the big question of the day: Who is that person?”

“It’s hard for me to tell where the prosecutor is going … They did not name the co-conspirator in the criminal complaint, we had a chance to look at that,” said Griem.

Gentz remains jailed at the William Dickerson Detention Facility in Hamtramck. He will undergo a competency evaluation and is due back in court March 16 for a preliminary exam.

“I think the chances of him [Gentz] being found incompetent are a zillion to one,” said Griem.

Catch up on this story, here.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments (2)
  1. Roger R says:

    I know Joe Gentz. He and his late dad have worked for me cleaning sewers. They were also long time friends through the Lake St Clair Walleye Association.

    I haven’t seen or talked to Joe since a couple months after his dad’s death some three years ago.

    Joe is not “all there.” The competency hearing is needed. His dad kept him in line.

    From my knowledge, someone had to tell him what to do.

    My land line phone is bare bones, no caller ID. It exists to support my DSL and an answering machine. Joe called and left a message to call him the day after his release, but he didn’t leave a number, so I’m still confused about what he wanted.

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