Joe Gentz told the cops that Bob Bashara hired him to kill Bob’s wife, Jane, for $2,000 and a used Cadillac in January 2012.
Now, Gentz has recanted the statements that led to Bashara’s conviction in 2014 for first-degree murder.Just before Bashara’s trial, Gentz announced he would not testify against Bashara, and word came down that Gentz was coached by fellow inmates to hold out for a better deal from prosecutors, who refused to play his game.
We now have a pretty good idea who the leader of that troupe of jailhouse lawyers was; Carlo Vartinelli, who was convicted in 1992 of first-degree sexual conduct and sentenced to life in Houghton County.
The Oakland Press has the most complete story about a recent affidavit from Gentz in which he recants the element of his confession in which he claimed Bashara forced him to murder Jane at gunpoint, a story Gentz told several people, including his family in the days after the murder.
It appears Vartinelli has ridden shotgun through all of Gentz’s antics since Gentz was committed to the state prison system in 2013 for second-degree murder.
From the Oakland Press story:
“In his motion, [Bashara’s appellate lawyer Ronald] Ambrose states he received word of the new version Gentz was offering through a private investigator who obtained it from Carlo Vartinelli, a prisoner serving a life sentence for a criminal sexual conduct conviction out of Houghton County.
Online court records show Vartinelli, 57, is somewhat of a jailhouse lawyer, having filed numerous on various issues in federal court. He was the one who compiled the affidavit with Gentz, according to court records after having several conversations, documents show.”
In it, he speaks of the MDOC’s “torturous” conduct regarding his many physical ailments. I’m no defender of MDOC – far from it – but this should give you an idea of the brain trust that is driving today’s news.
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter with over two decades of experience in daily newspaper, Web and magazine reporting and writing. Miller has done time as a court and cops beat reporter at the Dallas Morning News and as a national reporter for the Washington Times, and as a correspondent for national publications including People magazine, High Times, Boston Magazine, Miami New Times, Houston Press, The Daily Beast and U.S. News and World Report. In 2012, he was an Edgar award finalist for his book, Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender. He is a recipient of the digital investigative award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Miller was also the former vocalist in the Midwest punk rock outfit the Fix in 1980-81.
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