Judge declares Joe Gentz competent to stand trial in Bashara murder case

(WXYZ) - A judge has declared that Joseph Gentz, the only man currently charged in the murder of Jane Bashara, is competent to stand trial.

Sources told 7 Action News Gentz had been found competent earlier this week.

During Wednesday's hearing the judge also set August 13 at 1:30 p.m. as the preliminary hearing.

Gentz is charged with First Degree Murder. He claims Bob Bashara hired him to kill his wife, then forced him at gunpoint to strangle Jane in the garage of couple's home in Grosse Pointe Park.

In court Wednesday, Gentz's defense attorney Susan Reed read portions of a psychologist's evaluation of Gentz.

"While he may have a tendency to make up his mind and move ahead impulsively, he does appear open to advice and restraint. His memory appears to be basically sound," said Reed.

Prosecutors want Gentz to be able to testify against Bob Bashara. And now that two psychologists have found Gentz competent, his attorney is able to begin to negotiate a plea that could have Gentz testifying against Bashara.

As of right now, Bashara has not been charged in his wife's murder. But Bashara is in jail, accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill Gentz, his former handyman.

Bashara was arrested on the Solicitation to Murder charge in late June after investigators reportedly taped Bashara talking to a local businessman about hiring him to arrange Gentz's murder in jail.

That local businessman is cooperating with police.

Because of the threat, Gentz remains in isolation at a Wayne County jail.

Gentz's attorney declined to discuss what the terms of any possible deal for Gentz's testimony against Bob Bashara might include, but she says it's possible that a deal could be worked out by Bashara's next scheduled court date on July 24.

Jane Bashara's body was found in the backseat of her SUV in Detroit in January. An autopsy found that she had been strangled.

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