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Landlord Testifies Bashara Was ‘In Control’ Of Handyman Gentz

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Bob Bashara wipes his eyes as he listens to testimony about his wife's injuries. (credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

Bob Bashara wipes his eyes as he listens to testimony about his wife’s injuries. (credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

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DETROIT (CBS Detroit) “This is a great guy, I personally vouch for him.”

Those were the words Bob Bashara allegedly used when trying to convince a woman renting a Grosse Pointe flat into taking on his pal Joe Gentz as a tenant. Property owner Rebecca Forton expressed concern because the flat was $750 a month, and Gentz’s application showed he only had an income of $1,000 a month.

But without much intervention from Gentz, Bashara convinced her the money would come through every month, Forton said.

“(Gentz) definitely seemed to have a diminished IQ … He avoided eye contact.. he seemed almost intimidated … I was not afraid of him at all,” Forton said.

She added: “Looking back it seemed (Bashara) was very much in control of Mr. Gentz.”

Forton took the stand in the second day of testimony in Bob Bashara’s preliminary examination on charges of trying to hire a hit man to kill Gentz, after Gentz confessed to murdering Bashara’s wife Jane Bashara on his pal’s behalf.

Testimony earlier in the day focused on the grisly details of Jane’s violent death by strangulation before her body was found inside her car abandoned in a Detroit alley Jan. 24, 2012, in a case that rocked tony Grosse Pointe.

Later on, talk turned to Bashara’s alleged affairs, which have been floated as a motive for the murder. Joy Jolly, a woman selling her family’s home in Grosse Pointe, testified that he came through it with a Realtor and a woman who was not his wife.

“I asked him ‘Who was that woman?’ And he said, ‘She’s just a friend, she needs help finding a house,'” Jolly testified.

In court Monday, Bashara remained expressionless as his 79-year-old mother, Nancy, testified under oath that her son gave her a bag to put into their safety deposit box in 2012 telling her it contained coins and jewelry for his son.

On a later bank visit, she said she was shocked when she and two other family members discovered a gun stashed in a pouch inside a safety deposit box the family shared and then “didn’t know what to do.”

A family member later testified, with immunity, that she retrieved the gun and gave it to Bashara’s attorney at the time, David Grimm who kept it in his office until this month.

The hearing that will determine if there’s enough evidence to try Bashara for first degree murder is expected to span five days.

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