Dateline   |  June 21, 2013

Secrets in the Suburbs. Part 4

In exclusive audiotapes, Bob Bashara’s handyman – a man named Joe Gentz -- reveals that he killed Jane Bashara in her garage, but says he was ordered to do so by his sometime boss, Bob Bashara, who watched it happen

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> two days after the body of jane bashara was discovered in the back seat of her mercedes, an suv ditched in a detroit alley, her husband of 25 years, bob bashara, was named a person of oh interest. just four days after that, in january of 2012 , a huge guy walked into the grosse pointe park police station and the admission he made that day would turn the case upside down.

>> hours later we break the story that joe gentz is talking to police, giving them very specific details.

>> reporter: a handyman by trade, joe gentz had done minor work for bob bashara at bob's home and rental properties.

>> he's 6'6" with a size 16 shoe, massive hands. he's a big guy .

>> reporter: a big man with reportedly a child's mind.

>> e he has a 3rd grade iq. he's mentally impaired.

>> reporter: joe gentz was taken to an interview room and for three days the cop ohs listened to his bizarre account of jane 's death. how he said he was responsible for it. the detectives appeared not to know what to make of this guy who walked in off the street with an outlandish confession. at the end of the interrogation they did a surprising thing -- they let joe gentz go. he walked out the front door without any charges. it seemed as though nobody in authority would take him seriously. reporter marc santia tracked him down and got a brief statement from him on camera.

>> reporter: what do you want people to know?

>> i want them to know the truth.

>> reporter: santia didn't know what to believe about joe gentz. was he a killer or not? santia heard bits and pieces from sources but wanted it directly from joe gentz. something he knew that could be dangerous and tricky. when gentz said he would do an audit e owe only interview he asked detective tom berry to sit in with him.

>> you didn't have the gold shield but the instincts kicked in.

>> it's something i want to do. maybe i've still got it.

>> reporter: they met in a suburban detroit conference room . t. berry switched on the tape recorder. as soon as joe gentz's confession came out, santia and t. berry knew why the cops had trouble believing it. it was bizarre and chilling. but was it true? you're hearing it on national television for the first time.

>> why does he pick you?

>> i'm a pawn basically.

>> reporter: joe gentz said he met bob bashara in fall of 2011 . bob didn't have a place for him but bob did throw work his way. almost immediately, the handyman claimed, bashara asked him to do a job that had nothing to do with the usually, making repairs in the backyard or painting garages, but the proposal was cleanup work of sorts.

>> he tells me he wants his wife hit.

>> he doesn't even know you.

>> he goes, i want you to do this job.

>> reporter: gentz said the job was to ram into jane while she was driving her mercedes.

>> he wanted a hit-and-run. he said make it look like an accident.

>> okay.

>> like hitting a tree or --

>> what did he want you to hit the car with?

>> that's a good question. another car.

>> so this guy is asking me to di kill his wife. he wants her dead.

>> reporter: the hit-and-run scheme went nowhere. plan b to murder jane involved a fake backyard accident. gentz said bashara was offering cash.

>> he said i'll give you five grand if i knock out his wife. he wanted it to look like an accident that she fell off the roof of the house.

>> reporter: gentz said he was set up to meet rer in the bashara backyard. he was expected to kill jane that day. though he talked to her out back he didn't go through with it.

>> what does he say, if anything.

>> he goes, i'm ticked off. you're supposed to take care of my wife. i'm like, bob, i don't know. he said, you're chicken. maybe i am. i've got a lot to lose here. i said, you're nuts. i told him that.

>> reporter: bashara, according to the handyman, became more belligerent in demanding and nonstop phone calls.

>> he's on a deadline.

>> he tells you that? what kind of deadline?

>> i'm sorry. bob said i'm on a deadline or you're on a deadline?

>> he's on a deadline. bob's on a deadline.

>> okay.

>> now i'm like, what do you mean you're on a deadline?

>> he says i've got to have this done immediately.

>> reporter: as gentz told it, bashara's urgency became obvious when he called on the afternoon of january 24 , 2012 .

>> he says, hey, i need you at my house at 7:00 tonight.

>> 7:00 sharp. do not be late.

>> what do you say?

>> i'll be there.

>> reporter: bob told joe he had boxes his wife wanted moved from the garage.

>> he wants you to move stuff. doesn't want you to do anything else?

>> he goes, i want you to take out my wife.

>> was it your intention? he had a job for you.

>> yeah.

>> is that what you thought or did you think the hit?

>> i thought about both.

>> okay.

>> i thought about both in the back of my mind. man, this ain't good.

>> reporter: gentz said he blew off the previous killing schemes but anticipated this set-up was more serious.

>> so he walks over to the bashara home in grosse pointe park . he's let in by bob.

>> reporter: he said they were in the garage when jane , the wife came in and she was fuming.

>> bob turns around. she's yelling and screaming at bob.

>> what is she saying? i want this [ bleep ] out of here. take your damn [ bleep ] golf clubs to the country club . bob says, shut the woman up now. all i heard was -- click.

>> gentz says bob produces a gun. he's got a gun.

>> i looked down the barrel. i was like, oh [ bleep ].

>> what happened next?

>> he said take her out or i'm taking you. bob was going to shoot me.

>> okay.

>> i hit her.

>> you hit her --

>> to the neck. i knocked her down.

>> did she yell?

>> she goes, bob. w bob said, choke choke her.

>> is she knocked out?

>> no.

>> is she groggy?

>> she was more like, what are you doing, bob? help me, bob. bob says, take care of her. i went, wham. took her neck out with my boot.

>> did he see you step on her neck?

>> yep. seen the whole damn thing. bob said, make sure she's dead. bob said, load her up in the car. so i went to pick her up.

>> but gentz couldn't lift her body by himself. bob came to help and as they lifted jane her breasts became exposed.

>> the shirt opened up, okay?

>> did you see a bra?

>> i didn't see a bra. i seen [ bleep ]. bob goes, i'm sorry, baby.

>> covers her up.

>> covers her [ bleep ] up. we put her back in the vehicle. i put her feet in. bob put her head in.

>> reporter: gentz said bob opened the garage and ordered him to drive away with jane 's body laid across the back seat.

>> he said, don't [ bleep ] up.

>> you sat in binterview rooms with countless numbers of suspects. what did you think of his story?

>> in my opinion he was telling the truth. the story was consistent.

>> reporter: the ex-cop said gentz may have been most credible when he told of the exposed breast, bob's covering it up.

>> to me very important.

>> reporter: when her body was important she was not wearing a bra.

>> exactly. why would he think of making up a story like that? the story flows. everything he told us basically flows. it's all believable.

>> reporter: two months after it seemed the grosse pointe park police hadn't believed his murder confession, someone in authority finally did.

>> you're under arrest for the murder of jane bashara.

>> reporter: the wayne county prosecutor covering detroit and grosse pointe charged gentz, the handyman with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. conspiracy. an interesting word. just as it takes two to tango, it takes two to conspire.

>> the community is waiting. when are they going to arrest bob bashara for the murder of his wife?

>> reporter: or would they? would the other shoe ever drop?