|Joseph John Gentz|
Earlier this week, I was working on a story on the Bob Bashara murder trial for the Daily Beast and realized that on September 25, I had written a letter to Joe Gentz, the man who confessed to killing Jane Bashara in January 2012.
The letter came back a week later with the words “out for writ” written on the front of the unopened envelope, meaning he has been moved somewhere else awaiting a court date. This was at least a week in advance of jury selection, a process Gentz would have no reason to attend. I called and emailed the Michigan Department of Corrections on Monday to inquire when Gentz was moved. Predictably, in a state where the citizens are viewed by government employees as a cash cow/annoyance, no response.
Still, I thought perhaps the prosecution would want him to be closer to the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit, where the case is being heard.
I checked the Wayne County inmate search several times Tuesday and no Joe Gentz. I called the jail on Tuesday afternoon and asked. No, Joe Gentz was not in the jail.
I asked her to double check. Again, no Gentz.
At 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, I got an email from Russ Marlan from Michigan DOC:
“This prisoner is currently housed in the Wayne County Jail as his trial will begin shortly. He will remain at the Wayne County Jail until the conclusion of this case. You can contact the Wayne County Sheriff Department for additional information.”
Check the jail website again. No Gentz. So the question becomes, where is Joe Gentz? He’s been in trouble since being locked up in March 2012. He has defied guards, fought with fellow inmates and in general been disruptive.
Are they hiding him to ensure he stays out of trouble in the weeks leading up to the trial? Any recent trouble would be one more of many fallible points the defense can exploit in its cross-examination of Gentz. And how much is this secretive housing costing the taxpayer?