Family Dollar double murder trial gets under way

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The murder trial for the man accused of killing two Family Dollar employees began on Nov. 10, more than a year after the death of the victims.

Lavere Bryant is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment and possession by a felon of a firearm.

The trial is taking place at Wayne County Third Circuit Court in front of Judge Qiana Lillard.

Bryant is accused of killing Breanna Machus and Joseph Orlando, both 20, on July 15, 2013.

The victims were employees at Family Dollar, 22631 Newman. Bryant was an employee at other Family Dollar locations before he was fired in the spring of 2013.

Orlando had only worked at the dollar store for five days before his body was found in the restroom at the store on July 16, 2013. The body of Machus, an assistant manager, was found in a wooded area near the Southfield Freeway Service Drive and Michigan Avenue on July 18, 2013.

Both were shot with .40-caliber bullets in the head. Video surveillance shows Bryant leaving the store on July 15 and returning the next morning.

Bryant was originally arrested by Dearborn police at a Detroit cash was on July 19, 2013 for failure to comply with sex offender reporting duties until investigation on the murders began.

Bryant is currently being held in Wayne County Jail without bail.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at