Daily Briefs

Convictions reinstated in 2 Dearborn Family Dollar slayings


DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has reinstated the murder convictions of a man who was accused of killing two workers at a suburban Detroit store.

The court says physical and circumstantial evidence against Lavere Bryant was "undoubtedly overwhelming." The court says he got a fair trial, even if jurors were told about Bryant’s unflattering history of sexual harassment and his sex offender status.

A 2016 decision by the Michigan appeals court was overturned Wednesday.

Bryant was convicted of murder in the 2013 deaths of two employees at a Family Dollar store in Dearborn. Bryant was a former employee. The victims of the slayings were Joseph Orlando and Brenna Machus, both 20 years old.

Bryant will continue serving life sentences.

 

Michigan man who attacked ex with sword competent for trial
 

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man accused of breaking into the home of his children’s mother and attacking her with a sword has been found competent to stand trial.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that Judge Samuel Durham on Tuesday deemed 35-year-old Anthony Whitlock capable of assisting in his own defense, though the evaluation also found he was insane at the time of the Jan. 12 attack.

Whitlock’s lawyer, James Sauber, waived a key hearing, sending the case to trial. Sauber earlier said Whitlock said God told him to attack his ex-girlfriend, who lost a thumb and two fingers in the attack.

Authorities say Whitlock broke into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in Battle Creek, about 110 miles (175 kilometers) west of Detroit, and attacked her with a 3-foot (1-meter) replica samurai sword. Their three children were in the home but weren’t hurt.

Police say their 13-year-old son intervened, pushing his father away and attempting to stab him with a kitchen knife.

 

Man convicted in stabbing death, mutilation of body


SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man who authorities say fatally stabbed a friend more than 50 times and cut off his fingers before dumping his body in a field has been convicted of second-degree murder.

The Saginaw News reports a jury returned the verdict Wednesday in the case against 51-year-old Ralph Butler. He faces the possibility of life in prison when sentenced.

Authorities say Butler stabbed 57-year-old neighbor Andrew Cannon before leaving his body in Saginaw County’s Buena Vista Township, about 85 miles (140 kilometers) northwest of Detroit. Bloody clothes and seven fingertips later used to identify Cannon were found in a store parking lot trash bin along with a knife and gloves.

Prosecutors say Butler owed Cannon money, but Butler’s attorney James Piazza disputed that as being part of a possible motive.