DETROIT (WWJ) – A 35-year-old man will spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole, for killing two 20-year-old employees at a Family Dollar store.
Lavere Bryant was sentenced Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court after being earlier convicted by a jury of first-degree murder for the deaths of Joseph Orlando and Brenna Machus.
Before his sentence was read, an emotionless Bryant listened as relatives of his victims addressed the court. Machus’ father, Jamie, wiped away tears talking about his daughter.
“I have brought all that I have left of my daughter,” Jamie Machus said, getting emotional. “It’s a wooden box full of ash.”
“You took so much from so many people when you took them away,” said Shannon Miller, Orlando’s stepmother. “When you murdered Joey, when you killed him like he was nothing — let me tell you something, he was someone.”
Miller went on to say she wishes nothing but the worst for Bryant.
“I hope you feel the fear and torture you put them through, every moment of every single day as long as you rot in prison for eternity, and when you rot in hell,” she said.
Bryant vowed to appeal his sentence saying, “The person who killed your loved ones is still out there.” He was sentenced as a three-time habitual offender.
Surveillance video showed the killer enter the Family Dollar on Michigan Ave. in Dearborn on the night of July 15, 2013, and leave later with Machus. A co-worker found Orlando’s body in the store the next day. Machus’ body was found two days later in field near the Southfield Freeway about a mile away from the store.
Michigan State Police forensic scientist Andrea Young testified in October that DNA found on a shopping cart, towels, and in Bryant’s car links him to the victims.
During the trial, Bryant — who is a convicted sex offender — repeatedly said he didn’t commit the crime.
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