A man who shot and murdered two Family Dollar employees claims he didn’t kill anyone. The man, identified as 34-year-old Lavere Douglas-Lee Bryant, allegedly shot Brenna Machus and Joseph Orlando.
Bryant was arraigned on eight charges, including two counts of first-degree murder, and was ordered held without bond in the Wayne County Jail. A preliminary examination of the evidence against him is scheduled for next week.
Bryant also is charged with two counts of felony murder and one count each of armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, felon in possession of a firearm, felony use of a firearm and being a habitual offender-third offense.
The first-degree murder and felony murder charges each carry a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Bryant was fired in the spring as assistant manager of the Family Dollar for allegedly sexually harassing employees. He also reportedly was passed over for the manager’s job.
Bryant was arrested at a car wash where he was a customer, the afternoon of July 19, the day after the second body was found. He reportedly was arrested on a charge of not being a registered sex offender and questioned about the murders.
Wayne County Circuit Court records indicate a warrant request for five counts of failure to register his address as a sex offender the day he was arrested. As of Thursday morning, Bryant was listed as an absconder on the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry, which is run by the state police. The last verification date was Jan. 11, 2001, and he was listed as “incarcerated-address unknown.”
Orlando, 20, of Dearborn was found shot in the head when employees arrived at the store.
Machus, 20, of Romulus was found shot in the head on the morning of July 18 in a wooded area near the Rouge River, east of the Southfield Freeway and south of Michigan Avenue and the railroad tracks.