Bryant (David Coates)
Dearborn — A former Family Dollar store worker charged with killing two employees of the discount chain was ordered Friday to stand trial.
Judge Sam Salamey of 19th District Court ruled there was enough evidence for Lavare Bryant to be tried on charges he killed Brenna Machus and Joseph Orlando, both 20, at the Family Dollar store on Newman near Military and Michigan Avenue on July 15.
Bryant, 34, is charged with shooting Orlando and Machus in the head July 15. Orlando’s body was found in the customer bathroom of the store and Machus’ body was found July 18 in a wooded area near the Southfield Freeway service drive and Michigan Avenue with a single gunshot wound. .
During the hearing, Bryant’s girlfriend, Astrin Chandler, vehemently denied she told police in July she believed the man in a dark hoodie seen on surveillance store video recorded around 7:30 p.m. July 15 resembled her boyfriend.
“I never said that,” Chandler said. “I don’t think that’s him, and I never will.”
Bryant’s brother David Rowe also changed an earlier statement to police in which he said Bryant asked for his help selling a .45- caliber gun clip. A Dearborn police officer testified Friday the victims were shot with .45-caliber bullets.
Erika Collins, who worked with Machus and Orlando, testified about $1,000 was missing from the store’s safe the day after the incident.
Four frames of surveillance video were shown Friday morning at the hearing. Two of them showed a man in a dark hoodie entering the store July 15 but also coming back to the store around 5:30 a.m. July 16, a few hours before Collins reported for work and discovered Machus’ and Orlando’s vehicles still in the store’s parking lot. She also found a cellphone on the floor of the store.
Collins called police and officers found Orlando’s body, which was identified by Collins.
Jamie Machus said he was “ecstatic” Bryant was bound over to stand trial in the killing of his daughter.
“The prosecutor did a good job,” Machus said Friday after the hearing. “Some of the testimony was hard to listen to, especially the autopsy (report). Some stuff I needed to listen to I guess for closure.”