Stranger charged with murder, home invasion in death of Detroit Synagogue leader

Posted at 7:38 PM, December 13, 2023 and last updated 7:16 PM, December 14, 2023

DETROIT (Scripps News Detroit) — A man has been charged in connection to the murder of Samantha Woll, a Detroit synagogue leader.

Michael Manual Jackson-Bolanos, 28, was arraigned Wednesday evening, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced to reporters during a press conference.

Samantha Woll

Samantha Woll, president of the board at the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue poses for a photo in Detroit, Oct. 13, 2022. Samantha Woll, a Detroit synagogue president was found stabbed to death outside her home Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023 police said. The motive wasn’t known. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)

Jackson-Bolanos has been charged with felony murder, home invasion and lying to a peace officer. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted on all charges.

Woll, the president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue, was found dead outside of her home the morning of Oct. 21 in Detroit’s Lafayette Park neighborhood. Authorities said she was stabbed multiple times.

A suspect was taken into custody on Nov. 8 but was then released two days later. A new person of interest was taken into custody on Sunday, Detroit police said.

The prosecutor’s office on Tuesday said a warrant request in the case was being reviewed. On Wednesday, the charges were authorized and Jackson-Bolanos was formally charged.

Following his arraignment in 36th District Court, he was remanded to the Wayne County Jail. A probable cause conference is set for Dec. 27. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 3, 2024.

“This is an extraordinarily sad and tragic case,” Worthy said. “… there has been painstaking, diligent, and tireless work done by the Detroit Police Department and my office. Investigations like this take time and we do our best to never rush to judgment.”

Police reiterated that there is no evidence that points to the murder being a hate crime. They also said Jackson-Bolanos did not know Woll. He allegedly broke into and was attempting to break into vehicles in the area the day of Woll’s murder.

“My thoughts are certainly with the family of Samantha Woll, her friends and her loved ones. She continues to be missed by many in our community, our city, our state, and I’ve heard from people around the country,” Detroit Police Department Chief James White said during the press conference.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Detroit, an E.W. Scripps Company.

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