Bryant ruled competent for trials

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Lavere Bryant, 35, the Dearborn man accused of murdering two Family Dollar employees last summer, has been ruled competent to stand trial for their deaths and for a second trial as a sexual offender.

The decision was made by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Dana Hathaway June 20 during a competency hearing.

Bryant is scheduled to next appear in court for a pretrial hearing July 11 before Hathaway.

Both trials were scheduled to begin July 7, but a new date for the trial has not been announced yet.

In the homicide case, 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 prison without parole.

Bryant is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Orlando and Brenna Kathleen Machus, both 20 years old and employees of the Family Dollar store 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 southeast of the Michigan Avenue and Southfield Freeway interchange.

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 due to a 1999 conviction for home invasion and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The break-in 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.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at