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Jury deliberations to begin Wednesday in the Samantha Woll murder trial

'It’s a terrible thing, but it had nothing to do with me. I did not kill her'
Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 02, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The jury now has the case in the Samantha Woll murder trial. It comes after hours of closing arguments which began Tuesday morning.

The prosecution gave the first closing argument that lasted nearly two hours. After a short break, the defense then gave their closing argument which led to a lunch break. Prosecutors then gave their rebuttal before jury instructions were read.

After instructions were read, court finished for the day, and deliberations will begin on Wednesday morning.

We will go live during if/when a verdict is reached.

Watch the prosecutor's closing argument below

Prosecution gives closing arguments in the Samantha Woll murder trial

Watch the defense's closing arguments below

Defense gives closing arguments in Samantha Woll murder trial

Monday's story is below:

Testimony in the Samantha Woll murder trial wrapped up late Monday afternoon after court returned to session following the July Fourth holiday.

Michael Jackson-Bolanos, the man accused of killing Woll, took the stand for a second time in his own defense on Monday. Jackson-Bolanos spent the last two court days explaining his movements on Oct. 21, 2023, the day the synagogue leader's body was found.

The defense rested its case on Monday, but two more witnesses ended up taking the stand after Jackson-Bolanos finished his testimony.

An officer with the Detroit Police Department and a special agent with the FBI examined phone records.

Last week, Jackson-Bolanos admitted to leaving his girlfriend’s house and then going to look for unlocked cars to steal from.

During that time, he said he found Woll unresponsive.

On Monday, the prosecution cross-examined Jackson-Bolanos and asked him about previous criminal incidents that he was involved in.

VIDEO: Jackson-Bolanos takes the stand again

VIDEO EXTRA: Michael Jackson-Bolanos takes the stand again

They also asked him why he didn’t report seeing Woll’s body after he said he touched her to see if she was alive.

“It wasn’t my business or anybody else’s. It’s a terrible thing, but it had nothing to do with me. I did not kill her,” he said.

“So, you’re the good Samaritan who’s going and checking on bodies, but you decide it’s none of your business. Just leave her there outside. Is that what your determination was?” the prosecution asked him.

Jackson-Bolanos said he saw police close by in the area near another complex.

“I figured somebody would find her. I just couldn’t be the person to call for that,” he said.

The assistant prosecutor questioned Jackson-Bolanos heavily about stealing from cars and lying to police.

“You also told police that you don't hit cars anymore. But that was a lie, correct?” the assistant prosecutor asked.

Jackson-Bolanos responded by saying that’s “correct.”

“You told police that you didn't see anyone out there, but your testimony here in court today was that was a lie as well, correct?” Jackson-Bolanos was asked.

“They told me that I had went in somebody house. I told them I didn't see anybody. I didn't want to be accused of something I didn't do,” he responded.

“Right, so you told the police that you didn't see anybody out there, right?” the prosecution asked.

Jackson-Bolanos said that’s also correct.

The prosecution also asked him if his statement to police about not seeing anyone else was also a lie. Jackson-Bolanos said that was true.

“OK. And then you also told police that you never touched any bodies,” the prosecution asked. Jackson-Bolanos said that’s “correct.”

“And that according to you today was a lie, correct?” he was asked.

“That was a lie,” Jackson-Bolanos said.

The prosecution then asked Jackson-Bolanos if he is a liar, which he responded OK to.

Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled to start at Tuesday at 8:45 a.m.

What else happened last week on the stand?

The trial took a dramatic turn last Wednesday afternoon when Jackson-Bolanos took the stand in his own defense.

Jackson-Bolanos said on Oct. 21, he left his girlfriend’s home and was out looking for opportunities to steal from unlocked motor vehicles.

“I had told her I was going for a walk, but I was actually going to look at cars,” he said.

VIDEO: Defendant takes the stand, says he did not kill Woll. Watch part of his testimony below:

Defedant in Samantha Woll murder trial takes the stand

Jackson-Bolanos gave details of his route paired with surveillance video of him walking that night.

Jackson-Bolanos said he was trying to avoid security and possible confrontation while he was looking for accessible vehicles.

Jackson-Bolanos said while he was out, he saw a “dark figure” lying outside. He said he approached and when he could tell it was a person, he touched their neck before realizing the person was dead.

He described the body as being “cold and crusty.”

Jackson-Bolanos also testified that he decided against calling for help.

“I was over there … going into motor vehicles, and I felt like if I had to call the police I’d be incriminating myself,” he said.

The defendant maintained that he didn’t stab Woll and he didn’t go into her apartment.

“I had no weapons on me the whole night,” he testified.

He also testified that he touched the person he saw on the ground because he wanted to check on them.

"Yeah I’m out going around, but I still wanted to make sure that this person was OK. When I realized she was dead, I wanted nothing to do with the entire situation. 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 — that doesn’t look good at all," he said.

Before court ended for the day, the defense was playing phone recordings from the defendant, who maintained his innocence during the calls.

The first witness to take the stand on Wednesday was a forensic pathologist who argued that the autopsy of Samantha Woll was incomplete.

"Let's face it, there is a diagnosis of a cause of death, multiple stab wounds. That's fine. I can agree with that. The manner of death is homicide. But what happened to this young lady that underwent this horrible situation? What actually happened? That is a missing interval that I cannot reconstruct from the from what I received as the autopsy report generated," said Dr. Ljubisa Jovan Dragovic.

Woll's sister, Monica Rosen, also briefly took the stand to talk about questioning following the murder.

Brett Foreman was the last witness to take the stand before the court recessed for lunch. He said he had an "unrequited romantic crush" on Woll.

VIDEO: Watch Foreman's testimony in the video player below:

WATCH: Defense calls Brett Foreman in Samantha Woll murder trial

He was questioned about a conversation he had with an acquaintance about hypothetical scenarios regarding Woll's murder.

The prosecutor cross-examined him, asking him if he killed Woll. He said no.

Read more from last Tuesday below:

The prosecution has rested their case three weeks into the trial of Jackson-Bolanos in the murder of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll.

Four people testified on Tuesday, which was the twelfth day trial. All witnesses who testified are members of law enforcement.

The case resumed with the playing of the police interrogation video involving the suspect, Jackson-Bolanos. He told police he had nothing to do with Woll's murder.

VIDEO: Interrogation video shared with jury

Digging into the evidence in the Samantha Woll case

Also, Michigan State Police detective Lt. Richard Sanchez testified that the crime scene was on the main floor where significant blood was found. The defense raised questions about the thoroughness of the investigation and tried to raise doubt about how far the crime scene may have extended.

Defense attorney Brian Brown honed in on a stain on a seat in Woll's car and asked the detective if it was tested.

"You never followed to see which forensic tech processed the car, correct?" Brown asked.

The detective replied, "Correct."

Watch more of the interrogation in the video player below:

Prosecutors play interrogation video of Michael Jackson-Bolanos in court

Brown continued, "And you never specifically went and asked them whether or not they tested this specific seat for the presence of blood, correct?

Sanchez replied, "Correct.”

The prosecution countered by asking Sanchez for clarification.

The assistant prosecutor asked, "Was there ever any indication that there was blood on the exterior of her vehicle?"

Sanchez said, "I was never notified of any blood that was on the exterior of her vehicle."

VIDEO: Samantha Woll murder trial focuses on blood and DNA evidence in latest testimony

Samantha Woll murder trial focuses on blood and DNA evidence in latest testimony

The assistant prosecutor continued, "You ever seen any pictures or seen any bit of evidence that Ms. Woll ever made her way from inside her apartment over to where her car was parked?"

The detective replied, "No."

The assistant prosecutor asked, "Is there any evidence that she was stabbed at the wedding and she was bleeding in the car as she was coming home from the wedding?"

Sanchez said, "No.”