Could the Wrong Man Be on Trial for the Murder of Samantha Woll? Something Doesn't Add Up

"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."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jul. 9 2024, Published 5:46 p.m. ET

Samantha Woll sent her last text message a little after 1 a.m., the morning of Oct. 21, 2023. The synagogue president had just gotten home from a wedding and was getting ready to go to sleep in her Lafayette Park home in Detroit. Police later found that according to her security system, Woll's front door had been opened at 12:31 a.m., and was still open by the time she sent the text. A few hours later, her front door remained open. By 6:20 a.m., she was dead. What happened to Samantha Woll? Here's what we know.

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What happened to Samantha Woll? She was a beloved member of her community.

Woll's body was discovered outside her home by a neighbor who was out walking their dog, reported Click on Detroit. She was barefoot and lying in the fetal position, and based on the blue color of her skin, Woll's neighbor suspected she had been there for quite some time. They bent down to look for a pulse but only felt how cold Woll's skin was. The neighbor immediately called 9-1-1.

Area where Samantha Woll's body was found
Source: NBC News (video still)

The area where Samantha Woll's body was found

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Per the coroner's report, Woll had been stabbed eight times with much of her injuries located in her neck. There was also a trail of blood that led from her home to the sidewalk, which indicated she was stabbed inside her home. Police declared Woll's death to be a homicide as her community mourned. She was remembered as a dedicated and caring person who focused on interfaith work. Part of a statement from the Woll family said, "She was loved deeply, and her light spread far and wide."

Michael Jackson-Bolanos was charged with Samantha Woll's murder, but some believe her ex-boyfriend was to blame.

Michael Jackson-Bolanos has been charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, home invasion, and lying to police, per the Detroit Free Press. As of the time of this writing, Jackson-Bolanos is on trial and maintains his innocence. The 29-year-old told Detroit police he was out that evening taking pictures of cars and stealing from them, when he stumbled upon Woll's body.

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Police later found Woll's blood on a jacket that belongs to Jackson-Bolanos. He told authorities the blood got on his sleeve when he bent down to check for a pulse. There was no other blood on the garment. "When I realized she was dead, I wanted nothing to do with the entire situation," he said on the stand. "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."

The defense has also suggested another possible suspect, Woll's ex-boyfriend who "was taken into custody in November 2023 after allegedly admitting to the crime during a panic attack," said the Detroit Free Press. The state believes this was a robbery gone bad though Woll's apartment was not ransacked, and there was nothing stolen. The defense says her ex-boyfriend was angry after she broke up with him, and points to the fact that he already had a lawyer when police reached out to him.

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