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Family Dollar Murder Case Reveals Flaw In Sex Offender System

LANSING (WWJ) - State corrections officials are looking at ways to upgrade the sex-offender registry in the wake of a clerical mistake that made it appear a convicted sex offender — now accused in the Dearborn dollar store murders — was still in prison.

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said 34-year-old Lavere Bryant never reported to police his address after he was released from prison two years ago — which might have had authorities looking for him.

Marlan said corrections officials did notify Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Sheriff of Bryant's release — but it appears there was a record-keeping mistake.

"It came to light, you know, after the tragedy that he's accused of committing, the horrible crimes he's accused of committing ... We looked into this case and saw what happened here," said Marlan, who blames the error on a computer glitch.

"The un-click process did not occur, and so he showed his address as the Michigan Department of Corrections," said Marlan. "So we're seeing if there's a way we could incorporate some technology to make that automatic un-click occur as soon as we update other computer systems in our system."

Marlan said errors like this are uncommon, but they're working with state police to improve the process.

The Free Press reports, according to court records, Bryant was accused of fondling a woman in 1999 as she slept in a Detroit home. Bryant pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in that case. He was then convicted in an assault on another woman two years later.

Bryant is now charged with the murders of 20-year-olds Brenna Machus and Joseph Orlando, co-workers at the Family Dollar on Michigan Avenue,

Machus, an assistant manager, disappeared on July 15 — the same night Orlando was fatally shot in the store. Her body was found two days later in a wooded area less than 2 miles away.

Authorities aren't commenting on a possible motive for the killings.

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said those details will come out at Bryan's preliminary hearing,. That court date was delayed until Aug. 21 to give Bryant's attorney more time to look over the case.

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