Trials of Family Dollar suspect set to begin in spring

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The jury trials for the man accused of killing two Family Dollar store employees in July are set to begin next spring in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Lavere Bryant, 34, of Dearborn, will be involved with two trials, one for the double homicide and another for failing to register as a sexual offender. The trial for the homicides will begin at 9 a.m. March 3 and the failure to register trial will start at 9 a.m. March 19. Both cases will be held before Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway.

In the first trial, 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 in imprison without parole.

Bryant is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Orlando and Brenna Kathleen Machus, both 20 years old and employees of the Family Dollar at 22631 Michigan Ave.

Orlando’s body was found inside the store on July 16 by police, who were called to the store by an employee who had found it in disarray. Machus’ body was discovered on July 18 in a wooded area just south of Michigan Avenue and near the Southfield Freeway.

For the second trial, Bryant is charged with five counts of failure to comply with sex offender reporting duties and one count of failure to register as a sex offender.

Bryant is required to register as a sex offender after 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.

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

A conference for both trials is scheduled to be held at 9 a.m. Jan. 31 before Hathaway.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at