A 29-year-old man accused of brutally stabbing Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll continues to plead his innocence despite the mounting evidence against him.

“Absolutely not,” Defendant Michael Jackson-Bolanos told a Wayne County Circuit courtroom on Friday. “I’m a Black guy in the middle of the night, breaking into cars, and I found myself standing in front of a dead white woman. It doesn’t look good at all.”

“When I realized she was dead, I wanted nothing to do with the entire situation.”

The murder of Samantha Woll, a 40-year-old president of the Isaac Agree Synagogue, sent shockwaves through the Jewish community on October 21. She was found stabbed to death outside her home in Detroit’s Lafayette Park neighborhood, having suffered eight fatal wounds to her face and neck.

Jackson-Bolanos claimed he touched Woll’s neck to check if she was okay, but after realizing she was dead, he panicked and fled the scene. He also pointed to other potential suspects, including Woll’s ex-boyfriend, who was briefly taken into custody in November after allegedly admitting to the murder.

However, Jackson-Bolanos’ testimony contradicts his previous statements to detectives, where he repeatedly denied encountering anyone in the area aside from a homeless man while he was stealing from parked cars. Furthermore, Woll’s ex-boyfriend was cleared of all charges after police determined his confession was made under the influence and no evidence linked him to the scene.

During the past four weeks, prosecutors have presented compelling evidence linking the defendant to the crime, including blood matching Woll’s DNA found on Jackson-Bolanos’ jacket which had later been washed by his girlfriend. Surveillance video and cellphone tower data also place Jackson-Bolanos in the vicinity of Woll’s home during the time of the killing.

Cross-examination is expected to begin on Monday, with the defendant facing charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, home invasion, and lying to police.

Comments (0)