Jury selection begins in murder trial of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll

Samantha Woll
Posted at 9:18 AM, Jun 10, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Jury selection began today in the murder for downtown Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll.

Woll was found stabbed to death outside her Lafayette Park home in October. In December, Detroit Police arrested Michael Bolanos Jackson, accusing the 28-year-old of stabbing Woll to death in a random home invasion.

VIDEO: Man charged in murder of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll

Man charged in murder of Samantha Woll

We spoke to former U.S. attorney Matthew Schneider about selecting a jury, in a case that's garnered so much local and national media attention.

“Jury selection is one of the least talked about things in a criminal trial and the most important," Schneider told us.

With all the media attention this story is getting, we asked what kind of challenges that added attention presents in selecting a jury.

"It's the same type of challenges we've seen on a larger scale with the Trump case, people are asking what have you heard about this case?," Schneider said. "Are you familiar about it, have you been watching it on the news or watching it in the media and even if you have, is that going to bias you or not."

Schneider says in a murder trial, the prosecution wants jurors who may have been victims of a crime, while the defense will look for people who may be skeptical of police narratives.

"Right now today we’re in a period of time were living through where a lot of people are questioning law enforcement, questioning the police, questioning evidence and these are the people the defense will certainly want to have on this jury," Schneider told us.

Prosecutors saythat Jackson-Bolanos was breaking into cars in the area that night, and Woll's blood was found on his jacket, but his DNA wasn't found at the scene, which is just some of the evidence that a jury will sort through.

“What you really want is a jury who will listen to both sides, make a fair assessment, come to the correct conclusion about the law and the verdict in this case," Schneider said.

It started today at 9 a.m. at Wayne County Circuit Court. Schneider says the process could take a few hours to a few days.

7 News Detroti has a crew at jury selection. We will update this story with more information as it becomes readily available.