The suspect accused of killing Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll was in court Tuesday morning for an arraignment on the information in the case.
Michael Manuel Jackson-Bolanos, 28, of Detroit, faces charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, home invasion and lying to police officers in relation to the Oct. 21 incident.
The trial date has been set for 9 a.m. June 10, 2024, before Third Circuit Judge Margaret Van Houten.
Woll, 40, was found on the sidewalk outside her Lafayette Park apartment by a neighbor around 6:20 a.m., a few hours after police believe the violent stabbing attack occurred. Woll had attended a friend’s wedding the night before, but surveillance records obtained by investigators from ADT indicate that she returned home around 12:30 a.m.
Investigators say surveillance video and cell phone records obtained by the department place Jackson-Bolanos near the scene around 4:20 a.m., around the same time ADT sensors picked up motion in Woll’s living room — where the attack likely occurred — according to testimony made by investigators.
Defense attorney Brian Brown dismissed the evidence as circumstantial, pointing to some inconsistencies in the prosecution’s timeline and suggesting that the murder could have occurred much earlier. However, prosecutors also presented DNA evidence from microscopic blood droplets found on a jacket in Jackson-Bolanos’ girlfriend’s apartment, which investigators believe the suspect had been wearing and was a match for Woll’s blood.
Both the judge and Brown found it strange that such a small amount of blood would be found on the jacket when the crime scene was so bloody, leading Judge Kenneth King to believe the case “could go either way.”
Woll, who led the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue since 2022, was also a local activist, former aide to Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin and a campaign staffer for Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan referred to Woll as one of Detroit’s “great young leaders,” adding that her loss “has left a huge hole in the Detroit community.”