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Police had dismissed murder confession

March 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM   |   Comments

GROSSE POINT PARK, Mich., March 8 (UPI) -- Police at first thought a man charged with killing a woman whose body was discovered in Detroit was joking when he confessed to the crime, an acquaintance said.

Joe Gentz had tried to turn himself Jan. 31 at the Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety headquarters, admitting to the killing of marketing executive Jane Bashara, his acquaintance Steve Virgona told The Detroit News. Virgona said he persuaded Gentz to turn himself in.

The body of Bashara of Grosse Point Park was found in the back seat of her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit alley on Jan. 25.

Virgona said Gentz, who has an IQ of 67, had asked him to help kill someone whom Virgona said he later figured out was Bashara, whom he said was killed in the garage of her Grosse Pointe Park home.

But when he and Gentz arrived at the police headquarters and tried to tell a desk officer about Gentz's involvement in Bashara's death, Virgona said, they were told to leave.

"They wanted to kick us out," Virgona said. "First, they told us to come back later because there was no detective there. Then they didn't believe him; they said nobody would come in and confess like that. They thought it was a joke … but I kept telling them, 'This isn't a joke.'"

Gentz was held three days before being released Feb. 3, and sources told the News his story had changed several times and authorities didn't believe the confession alone would hold up in court.

After Michigan State Police processed evidence, including hair and blood samples taken from the garage, Gentz was arrested Friday in Macomb Circuit Court, where he was scheduled to appear for a visitation hearing with his 10-year-old daughter.

He was charged Monday with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, which the News said means prosecutors believe he planned the murder with someone else.

The News said calls to the Grosse Point Police Wednesday were not returned and Gentz's attorney, Susan Reed, could not be reached.

The Grosse Point Park Police chief has named the victim's husband, Robert Bashara, for whom Gentz did odd jobs, a "person of interest." The News said Robert Bashara's attorney, David Griem, did not respond to phone calls Wednesday.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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