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Lavere Bryant charged in murders of Dearborn Family Dollar workers

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34 year-old Lavere Bryant of Dearborn 34 year-old Lavere Bryant of Dearborn
DEARBORN, Mich. (WJBK) -

On the same day the Family Dollar store in Dearborn reopened where 20-year-olds Joe Orlando and Brenna Machus worked, a former employee was charged with their murders.

Police said the night of July 16, 34-year-old Lavere Bryant shot and killed Orlando in the bathroom, robbed the store and abducted Machus. He eventually shot her, too, and dumped her body in a field less than a mile away.

Jamie Machus said he recognized his daughter's alleged killer in court.

"I saw him and never thought anything else about it. He just worked there," he said.

Family Dollar confirmed Bryant was fired last spring, but would not say why or explain how a man with a lengthy rap sheet was hired in the first place.

"Honestly, I think that's why Family Dollar paid for the funeral. The same reason they had only one video camera instead of all six of them working, they knew they were wrong," Jamie Machus said.

Records show in 1999, Bryant was convicted of breaking into a home and sexually assaulting a woman. He only served a year.

It was not long before he was in trouble again. In 2001, Bryant was convicted of assault to commit great bodily harm less than murder after he picked up a prostitute and stabbed her in the neck until she was able to escape.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, he was a problem inmate under maximum security, never granted parole and served his maximum sentence. When he was released in March 2011, we were told MDOC went as far as warning the sheriff's departments in Oakland and Wayne counties because that is where he committed his crimes in the past.

Sources said soon after surveillance video was released, someone recognized the man as a former worker of Family Dollar and called police.

As we first reported last Friday, Bryant was arrested at a Detroit car wash. We were told police caught him trying to get rid of evidence.

Fox 2 has learned the convicted sex offender never complied with the new registry laws requiring him to verify his address. Police held him on that until they completed their murder investigation.

On Wednesday in a courtroom packed with police and the families of both victims, Bryant was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery and unlawful imprisonment. He is being held without bond.

Bryant is scheduled to be back on court on July 31.

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