Prelim for Family Dollar suspect adjourned until Aug. 21

Photo by Bob Oliver
Cynthia Konkel (right), mother of murdered Family Dollar employee Joseph Orlando, clutches a picture of her son during the preliminary examination of suspect Lavere Bryant July 31 in 19th District Court. Bryant is charged with the shooting deaths of Orlando and fellow store employee Brenna Machus.

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The preliminary examination of the evidence against the suspect in the homicide of two Family Dollar store employees has been adjourned until next month.

Lavere Bryant, 34, of Dearborn, appeared before 19th District Court Judge Sam Salamey July 31 for his examination. He arrived over two hours after the scheduled start time because he initially was taken to the wrong courthouse from Wayne County Jail.

Bryant stood before Salamey with his court appointed attorney, Robert Kinney, who requested an adjournment to give the defense more time to examine the evidence against the defendant.

“We have received over 1,200 pages of discovery as of today,” Kinney said. “We have not had time to read all of it and be prepared for the preliminary examination.”

The examination for rescheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 21 in front of Salamey.

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 Family Dollar, 22631 Michigan Ave. Police have not given a possible motive for the crime.

Employees going to the store to open it on July 16 observed that it was in disarray and called the police. While investigating the store, police found the body of Orlando. Machus’ body was discovered on July 18 in a wooded area just south of Michigan Avenue and near the Southfield Freeway.

Bryant is charged with eight felonies including 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 carry a penalty of life imprisonment without parole.

Orlando’s mother Cynthia Konkel was at the preliminary examination with a photograph of him in her hands. She said she did not know whether her son knew Bryant, but she wanted the suspect to see her son’s face “every time he steps into a courtroom, whether it influences him or not.

“I will be holding my son’s picture to my heart every minute I’m in a courtroom and every minute that Lavere is in a courtroom,” Konkel said.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at