The Family Dollar murders’ suspect was arraigned in Dearborn, Michigan. Lavere Douglas-Lee Bryant, age 34, has denied killing Brenna Machus and Joseph Orlando. The dollar store employees were found shot dead on July 16 and 18.
Bryant was a former employee at the Cherry Hill Road store. He was reportedly terminated following accusations of sexual harassment.
As reported by The News Herald, Bryant’s anger about the firing may have led to the shootings. Orland, age 20, was found dead in the store, and Machus, age 20, was found dead in a wooded area two days later.
In addition to the Family Dollar murders, Bryant was wanted for failing to register as a sex offender. Bryant’s last known registration was in 2001.
Bryant was arrested on July 19. He is charged with failing to register as a sex offender, armed robbery, several firearm charges, and two counts of first-degree murder.
During his arraignment, Bryant simply stated “I did not murder anybody.”
Bryant requested, and was granted, a public defender. He is currently being held without bond.
Lavere Douglas-Lee Bryant’s status as a sex offender stemmed from a second-degree sexual assault conviction in 1999. In 2001, Bryant was convicted of “assault with intent to do great bodily harm.”
If Bryant is convicted on the first-degree murder charges, he will face life in prison. Prosecutors are not willing to discuss many details about the case. However, they did indicate that Bryant was identified through video surveillance footage.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is thankful that Bryant is off the streets:
“Everything about this case is extremely upsetting… This was not an easy case to put together. I commend all of the tenacity of the Dearborn Police Department and am grateful for the help from the public and media.”
As reported by Press & Guide, the store has reopened. Employees have put together a small memorial inside the store to honor their former colleagues.
The Family Dollar murders have been solved. However, store management has hired a security guard as a precaution.
[Image via Flickr]