Man arrested, charged in Family Dollar double murder

Photo by Bob Oliver
Nineteenth District Court Judge Sam Salamey (left) reads to Lavere Bryant (right) the charges that he faces in connection with the homicides at Family Dollar, 22631 Michigan Ave. Bryant is charged with eight felonies, including two counts each of first degree murder and felony murder, for the deaths of employees Joseph Orlando and Brenna Kathleen Machus.

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — A Dearborn man was arrested and arraigned in connection with the killing of two Family Dollar store employees last week.

Lavere Bryant, 34, of Dearborn, was arraigned before 19th District Court Judge Sam Salamey on July 24 for eight felonies. Bryant faces two counts each of first degree murder and felony murder (one count for each victim), armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, felon in possession of a firearm, felony firearm and being a habitual offender. Each of the four murder charges carries a penalty of life imprisonment without parole.

Salamey said Bryant will face the habitual offender charge due to his criminal record. Bryant was convicted in 1999 of criminal sexual conduct and again in 2001 for assault with intent to commit great bodily harm.

Salamey also entered a plea of not guilty for all of the charges into the court for Bryant, who was remanded to the Wayne County Jail and refused bond at the request of Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark. He is due to appear before Salamey at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday for a pretrial examination of the evidence against him.

Bryant was arrested during the Dearborn Police Department’s investigation into the shooting deaths of Joseph Orlando and Brenna Kathleen Machus, both 20 years old and employees of the Family Dollar at 22631 Michigan Ave.

Employees entering the store to open it on July 16 observed that it was in disarray and called police. While investigating the store the police found Orlando’s body.

They also found that Machus, the assistant manager of the store, was missing. Machus’ body was discovered on July 18 in a wooded area just south of Michigan Avenue and near the Southfield Freeway.

Machus recently transferred from another location and Orlando was in his first week of employment there.

In a press release about the arrest, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said that everything about the case is “extremely upsetting” and praised the investigators.

“This was not an easy case to put together,” Worthy said. “I commend all of the tenacity of the Dearborn Police Department and am grateful for the help from the public and media.”

Police Chief Ronald Haddad spoke after the arraignment. He said that “this is a case where there are clearly no winners, but all losers.” He added that the people of Dearborn can rest easier with a suspect in custody.

“This crime is certainly not the usual (in Dearborn), but it can happen anywhere,” Haddad said. “This type of crime shocks the conscience of all civilized people.”

(Bob Oliver can be reached at