Suspect in Dollar Store deaths to stand trial for murder

Suspect in Dollar Store deaths to stand trial for first-degree murder

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Lavere Bryant was arraigned Friday on two counts of First Degree Murder, two counts of Felony Murder, Armed Robbery, Unlawful Imprisonment, Felon In Possession of a Firearm and Felony Firearm.    

The hearing began with detailed instructions from the judge. He said the media could not record any audio of the proceedings. And for security reasons showing the faces of the witnesses was also off limits in the case. A case that's really just beginning for the families involved although progress is being made.
 
"It's always hard. It gets more difficult each day. I gotta stay quiet no matter what I want to say or do," Jamie Machus, Brenna's father, tells Fox 2's Robin Murdoch.
 
A tough day indeed for the families of 20-year-old Brenna Machus and 20-year-old Joseph Orlando. It was up to prosecutors on Friday to prove there was enough evidence to send Bryant to trial for their murders. In the end they did, but not before calling eight witnesses to the stand over a 5 hour period.
 
"Some of it was hard to listen to, mostly the autopsy. I needed to hear it I guess for closure," Jamie Machus says.
 
It's alleged Bryant went to a Dearborn Dollar Store back in July and shot Orlando several times in the head in the bathroom. A coworker testified she knew something was wrong when she showed up to open the store and the lights and alarm were off, and Orlando's cellphone lay on the floor. She says she immediately walked out and called police. She later had to identify his body. The worker also testified about $1,000 was missing from the store.
 
"We think he may have been trying to protect Brenna. We don't know for sure. We'll find out," Cynthia Konkel, Orlando's mother, says.
 
Surveillance video played in court showing Brenna Machus leaving the store that night with, at the time, an unknown person. That's why police released pictures to the media right after the incident, hoping to identify the person. An employee who often waited on Bryant at the store testified she saw that video and recognized the mannerisms, as well as the clothing, and contacted police to let them know she thought Bryant was the man they were looking for.

Brenna Machus was eventually found murdered in a grassy field. She, too, had been shot.
 
"Why couldn't he have just did what he needed to and dumped her off. Let her live. He didn't have to kill her. He'll pay for it the rest of his life," Jamie Machus says.
 
Both the families of Brenna and Orlando say they were pleased with the outcome of the proceedings and look forward to this going to trial.

Bryant's next court date is set for October 11th at 9:00am at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.

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