Preliminary exam of Family Dollar homicide suspect delayed again

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The preliminary examination of the evidence against the suspect in the homicide of two Family Dollar store employees was adjourned until October and additional charges have been brought against him by the state of Michigan.

Lavere Bryant, 34, of Dearborn, was supposed to have his preliminary examination before 19th District Court Judge Sam Salamey on Aug. 21, but it was rescheduled for at 9 a.m. Oct. 1, and if necessary Oct. 4, at the request of his court-appointed attorney, Robert Kinney.

The postponement also allowed Bryant to appear before 3rd Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas for five counts of failing to comply with reporting duties and one for failing to register as a sex offender.

That appearance in circuit court was an arraignment Thursday in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit.

A conference to coordinate the scheduling for the two cases so that there is no overlapping dates will take place on Aug. 30 before Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway.

Bryant is currently being held without bond in the Wayne County Jail.

He was arrested in July for failing to register as a sex offender, but charges were added 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.

Bryant is a former employee of Family Dollar who was released by the company earlier this summer, but the DPD has not given a possible motive for the crime. Bryant worked at the Inkster location of Family Dollar, not the Michigan Avenue store.

The body of Orlando was found inside the store on July 16 by police, who were called to the store by employees who had found it in disarray. Police immediately began looking for Machus, who had been working in the store with Orlando the previous night and was missing.

Machus’ body was discovered on July 18 in a wooded area just south of Michigan Avenue 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.

Bryant is required to register as a sex offender due to a 1999 conviction for home invasion and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The home invasion charge was dismissed, but Bryant was given five years of probation and sentenced to one year of confinement in the Michigan Department of Corrections for the criminal sexual conduct.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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