Michael Jackson-Bolanos is a man from Detroit Michigan who has been charged in the murder of Samantha Woll
According to court documents Michael Jackson-Bolanos would allegedly break into the of Samantha Woll who would be stabbed to death on October 21 2023. Police believe it was a random attack and that Michael Jackson-Bolanos and Samantha Woll were strangers to each other
Samantha Woll was a popular synagogue leader in Detroit
Michael Jackson-Bolanos has been charged with felony murder, home invasion and burglary
Detroit police had arrested another suspect in the Samantha Woll murder however he was released with no charges pending
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A suspect has been charged in the killing of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Wednesday.
Michael Jackson-Bolanos, 28, of Detroit, was charged with felony murder during a first-degree home invasion and is believed to have acted alone in the Oct. 21 slaying.
Worthy said the suspect did not know Woll. He allegedly entered her Lafayette Park home and stabbed her to death multiple times using a “straight edge cutting instrument,” Worthy said. That same day, he also allegedly lied to detectives about stealing and attempting to steal from cars from the area of Woll’s home.
Michael Jackson-Bolanos has retained an attorney, who maintained his client’s innocence following a Wednesday arraignment hearing — noting that police had previously fingered a different suspect in the killing.
“It’s pretty significant that they originally arrested an individual prior to arresting my client, I’m going to be looking at the circumstances around that,” said attorney Brian Brown. “Truthfully, I think it was a lot of publicity this case was receiving, a lot of pressure on the Detroit Police Department to hopefully come up with somebody and my client maintains his innocence — and I think he was just a victim of circumstance and not an individual who perpetrated this crime.”
Woll’s family expressed gratitude after charges were announced Wednesday.
“Our family is sincerely grateful to the hard-working women and men of the DPD Homicide Task Force who worked around the clock for weeks to thoroughly investigate this tragic crime,” the family said through its lawyer, Brian Legghio.
“Through their dedication and tireless efforts we firmly believe that they have successfully solved this senseless crime. We cannot thank them enough.”
Woll’s family also thanked “everyone” for their support and prayers before asking for privacy: “Samantha’s death is an unspeakable tragedy that has affected not only her family and friends, but also those who knew her as a devoted, community activist, leader and bridge builder. She was loved deeply and her light spread far and wide.”
Woll was discovered dead outside of a neighbor’s apartment in the 1360 block of Joliet Place, surrounded by a pool of blood. A trail of blood led detectives to Woll’s home.
Despite previous statements from Detroit police that there were no signs of forced entry, Worthy said Wednesday that the front door to Woll’s home “was ajar and unlocked, and a significant amount of blood was inside.”
Michael Jackson-Bolanos was also charged with home invasion and for lying to police officers.
He previously spent two years on probation after being convicted of receiving and concealing a stolen motor vehicle in 2019, and four years in prison for a similar offense in 2013, according to the Michigan of Department of Corrections.
Brown, the attorney, said Jackson-Bolanos was employed full-time prior to his arrest.
Worthy described Woll’s death as “extraordinarily sad and tragic,” one that has left Detroiters and local faith communities bewildered in the weeks since.
Detroit Police Chief James White said Jackson-Bolanos had appeared on Detroit police’s radar within the last three weeks.
Michael Jackson-Bolanos was identified for suspected criminal activity in the area; police were curious about his actions, White said. Police linked him to a few larcenies and brought him in for questioning, White said.
“What had transpired during questioning was concerning,” White said.
Without more evidence, Michael Jackson-Bolanos was released but then monitored.
“We knew where he was, we knew his whereabouts, we knew his movements, at no time was anyone in our community at risk,” White said. “We knew where he worked, we knew his phone traffic.”
Detroit police had confirmed Tuesday that charges were requested against the suspect, who was apprehended as a “person of interest” on Sunday.
Earlier Tuesday, Detroit police were on and around East Lafayette Street — near where Woll lived — searching for evidence, Detroit police confirmed, though they would not say whether the search was tied to the Woll case.
“We’re not going to rush this, we’re not going to make mistakes. We were methodical and tenacious in our investigation,” White said Wednesday.
An initial suspect — different from the one taken into custody Sunday — was previously apprehended last month, but charges against him never materialized and he was released. Authorities no longer consider him a suspect.
“This takes time, and for our part we never want to rush to judgment,” Worthy said.
“We have to investigate every avenue even though we may think that we have the right person in custody — we know that we do today — we have to investigate any and all suspects or persons of interest that may come forward,” Worthy continued. “We don’t want to leave any stone unturned. And that means we may have to look at other people, even if it’s believed at the time that they’re not the right one for this case.”
Woll had attended a wedding the night before her death. The killing made national headlines and sent shock waves throughout Jewish and interfaith communities in metro Detroit. She was the president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue and founded the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Detroit.
She was also well known among Michigan Democratic leadership, having worked for U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, and on the reelection campaign of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Those who knew Woll described her as a leader whose kindness and dedication to justice were among some of her best qualities.
Some had speculated that Woll’s death was motivated by antisemitism amid ongoing fears within Arab, Muslim, and Jewish communities in the United States as war rages abroad between Israel and Hamas. White has maintained he is confident, based on the evidence so far, that the killing was not motivated by a hate crime.
Worthy reiterated Wednesday that the killing was not motivated by antisemitism.
“There’s not a shred of evidence that points to the fact that this was a hate crime,” Worthy said.