Family Dollar double-murder suspect in court for prelim in deaths of Joseph Orlando & Brenna Machus

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) - There were tears in the courtroom as the families of two victims heard the case against the man accused of murder. Lavere Bryant appeared for a preliminary hearing in the Family Dollar Store killings.

The 34-year-old Dearborn man is accused of killing Brenna Machus, 20, and Joseph Orlando, 20. Orlando, who had only worked at Family Dollar for a week, found dead in the store's bathroom on July 16. Two days later the remains of Machus, who had gone missing, were found in a grassy area near Southfield Freeway and Michigan Avenue.

During Friday's hearing at the 19th District Court, the store's manager testified saying she knew something was wrong when she came to work the next morning and saw both of the employees' cars in the parking lot. The manager fled the store and called police when she found Orlando's cell phone on the floor.

A Michigan State Police forensic scientist said Orlando had died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Machus, who was killed from a shot to the head, was found clutching what was is believed to be her red uniform shirt.

Dearborn police who processed the crime scene said they found $270 and drug paraphernalia in Orlando's pockets.

Bryant faces several charges including two counts of first degree murder and unlawful imprisonment. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

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