Grosse Pointe Murder: Joseph Gentz Arrested in Death of Jane Bashara

Suspect Joseph Gentz reportedly has the I.Q. of a third-grader.

ByABC News
March 4, 2012, 8:46 PM

March 5, 2012 — -- Police have arrested Joseph Gentz, a handyman who confessed more than a month ago to killing an affluent Michigan mother of two, but questions remain about why the arrest took so long and what it all means for the victim's husband, who the suspect claims put him up to the killing.

Gentz, a former handyman who reportedly has the I.Q. of a third-grader, was arrested Friday on charges he killed Jane Bashara, a 56-year-old Detroit marketing executive who was found strangled in the back seat of her Mercedes SUV on January 25.

His court-appointed attorney has said she did not know the specifics of the charges because she had not seen the arrest warrant.

Gentz, 48, used to do odd jobs for Bob Bashara, the victim's husband.

A few days after Jane Bashara's death, Gentz confessed his role in the murder, claiming there had been a murder-for-hire scheme for which he had been paid by the victim's husband to strangle Jane Bashara in the garage of the couple's affluent Grosse Pointe Park home.

Bashara, 54, has denied any involvement in his wife's death, and he has not been charged.

Sources said that Gentz's story was reportedly at times shifting and inconsistent as he told police that he was confessing because he feared that the blame for the murder would fall entirely on him.

Bashara had owed Gentz about $2,000. Bob Bashara's attorney, David Griem, has said he believed Gentz murdered his client's wife out of anger and vengeance, and said his client played no role in the killing.

One story Gentz has reportedly told police is that Bashara forced him to kill Jane Bashara at gunpoint, saying he would kill Gentz if he didn't kill her.

Bashara denied those claims, saying in an interview on "Good Morning America" last month: "I don't own a firearm. And I, I absolutely had nothing to do with this. That is a, a sick assessment on his part. It just shows how deranged he is."

But there have been several puzzling developments in the case that have fueled speculation, including reports that Bob Bashara lived a double life in which he carried on an affair and ran a secret sadomasochism club below a bar he owned called the Hard Luck Lounge.

Griem has said he believes Bob Bashara had an open marriage.

A Detroit dominatrix has said Bob Bashara was a "master" who would take charge during S&M sessions.

Bashara refused to discuss the alleged affair or his lifestyle on "GMA," saying the issues had nothing to do with the case.

Bashara also failed parts of a police polygraph test, although Griem said he later passed a privately administered one that showed he had no involvement in his wife's death.