Family Dollar Murders In Michigan: Lavere Bryant Charged With Killing Former Co-Workers Joseph Orlando And Brenna Machus
A suspect in the Michigan Family Dollar murders case was arraigned this week. Lavere Bryant, 34, has been charged with a host of charges--including two counts of first-degree murder--for allegedly killing his former Family Dollar co-workers, Joseph Orlando, 20, and Brenna Machus, 20.
"I did not murder anybody," Bryant said as was taken from the courtroom.
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Bryant, a convicted sex offender, had been an assistant manager at the Family Dollar in Dearborn, but was fired after numerous complaints of sexual harassment. He'd also been upset that he was passed over promotion to become a manager. He was fired by the man who did get the job.
Two women who work at the Dearborn Family Dollar, Jasmin Gregory, 20, and Sara Coulter, 19, speculated to the Detroit Free Press that Bryant may have committed the crime as an act of relation. They don't know why Bryant would have gone after Orlando and Machus.
"Everyone is puzzled," Gregory said. "Why Brenna? She wouldn't hurt a fly."
On the night of July 15, Orlando was fatally shot at the Dearborn Family Dollar. Machus went missing that same night; her body was eventually found less than two miles from the Family Dollar, in a wooded area.
A Family Dollar spokesperson confirmed that Bryant was fired last spring, but didn't comment on why a felon was a long rap sheet was hired in the first place.
In 1999, Bryant was jailed after he broke into a house and sexually assaulted a woman. Two years later, Bryant was convicted of assault after the hired a prostitute and then stabbed her in the neck. In prison, Bryant was a "problem inmate," according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Jamie Machus, Brenda's father, isn't sure why Family Dollar would hire someone with such a dangerous past, but he thinks Family Dollar has tacitly admitted their error by covering the cost of his daughter's funeral.
"Honestly, I think that's why Family Dollar paid for the funeral," Machus told My Fox Detroit. "The same reason they had only one video camera instead of all six of them working, they knew they were wrong."
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