Will Joe Gentz's new claims about Bashara murder hold up in court?

Imprisoned handyman changes story, says he acted alone in killing Jane Bashara

DETROIT – A new affidavit in which Joe Gentz claims Bob Bashara is completely innocent in his wife Jane Bashara's murder is under scrutiny.

The original story from Gentz was that Bob Bashara hired him to kill Jane and held a gun to his head to make sure he did it. Now, in the affidavit (view the affidavit file here), Gentz says he acted alone in killing Jane and that it was not a planned murder. He said Bob Bashara wasn't even home when he strangled Jane inside the garage of her Grosse Pointe Park home.

Since Jane's body was found in January 2012, Gentz has been convicted of murder. Bob Bashara first was convicted of trying to have Gentz killed while behind bars. Then a jury decided Bashara was guilty of planning his wife's murder and hiring someone to have it done. He was sentenced to prison in December.

Bob Bashara admitted to trying to have Gentz killed, testifying that he was angry about his wife's killing. However, he has maintained his innocence in connection to Jane's murder and is fighting to get a new trial.

Is Gentz's story enough to get Bashara a new trial?

Gentz's new story has added yet another twist to this murder case. However, is there any merit to it? Retired judges and attorneys say prisoners often change their story in hopes of being released. Sometimes they’ll offer up new information that can help convict another person.

In this case, another inmate took a sworn affidavit from Gentz. Carlo Vartinelli, 57, is serving a life sentence for first-degree criminal sexual conduct. How credible is he?

"Those are things that should get flushed out in the course of cross examination or in a trial," said legal expert Neil Rockind. "The reality is that Mr. Bashara and his lawyer have produced compelling, newly-discovered evidence that (Bob) Bashara was not involved and that Joseph Gentz acted alone. I mean, you can't get any more compelling than the gunman in a sworn affidavit swearing under the penalty of perjury that he acted alone."

Rockind said this evidence has the potential to change the outcome of the trial.

The case surrounding Jane Bashara's murder heads back to court on Friday. The hearing is part of Bob Bashara's push for a new trial.

About the Authors: