DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Months after being charged, a Detroit-area handyman returned to court Thursday for a key hearing in the death of a suburban marketing executive.

And he waived his right to the preliminary examination, a court hearing that determines whether there’s enough evidence to bind him over — which means Joe Gentz now heads to Wayne County Circuit Court for trial.

Gentz is charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to murder in connection with the death of Jane Bashara.

The body of Jane Bashara, a 56-year-old 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 was strangled to death, had extensive bruising to her upper body, a crushed windpipe and missing fingernails.

Gentz reportedly told Grosse Pointe Park investigators back in January that he was hired to kill Jane Bashara and paid by her husband, Bob Bashara. Gentz previously worked as a handy man for Bob Bashara.

In a separate case, Bob Bashara is charged with trying to have Gentz rubbed out in the Wayne County jail because he feared Gentz would implicate him in his wife’s death. He remains jailed on a $15 million bond.

Although he has not been charged with his wife’s murder, Grosse Pointe Park police have called Bob Bashara a person of interest since the beginning of their investigation.

Gentz’ mental health has been under scrutiny, but experts say he’s competent to face the charges.

Catch up on the Bashara case, here.

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and for the latest.


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