Suspect charged in murder of Detroit synagogue president

Prosecutor says there’s ‘not a shred of evidence’ of an antisemitic hate crime.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

On Wednesday, Michael Jackson-Bolanos (28) of Detroit was charged in the murder of local synagogue president Samantha Woll (40) at her home on October 21st.

The fact that the killing occurred two weeks after the October 7th massacres, amid a 400% rise in antisemitic incidents in the United States, fueled speculation early on that Woll’s murder was an anti-Jewish hate crime.

However, Wayne County Prosecutor Kim L. Worthy stated “there are no facts to suggest” that the suspect knew the victim and “not a shred of evidence” of an antisemitic hate crime.

Instead, Michael Jackson-Bolanos was charged with felony murder during a first-degree home invasion.

According to the prosecutor, he broke into Woll’s Lafayette Park home and stabbed her to death multiple times using a “straight-edge cutting instrument.”

The suspect allegedly lied to police about attempting to rob cars surrounding Woll’s home.

Michael Jackson-Bolanos’ attorney insisted on his client’s innocence at Wednesday’s arraignment and pointed to the fact that a previous person of interest was detained and released as a sign of uncertainty regarding the identity of the actual killer.

Police Chief James White explained that the current suspect “came on our radar a few weeks ago” when the police were solving larceny crimes in the area.

He added, “This is not a case you can solve like on television. (It takes) hours and hours of evidence, hours and hours of video, of phone work, seven days a week.”

Samantha Woll, who was the president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue, was murdered shortly after returning from a wedding.

According to Detroit police, Woll’s body was discovered by emergency responders, who spotted a trail of blood near her home.

It was unclear who had called paramedics to the scene.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, the executive director of Detroit’s Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC expressed “great relief” at the arrest of a suspect in Woll’s murder.

Lopatin said, “The entire Detroit community, and frankly the entire world that came to love and respect the incredible person that Sam Woll was, felt that justice must come to the person who would perpetuate such a horrible crime and take away such a precious life.”