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Testimony set to begin Wednesday in trial of man accused of killing Samantha Woll

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jun 10, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A jury has been seated in the trial for Michael Jackson-Bolanos, the man accused of murdering Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll.

Opening statements took place on Tuesday afternoon with both Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Elsey and defense attorney Brian Brown presenting before court adjourned for the day.

VIDEO: Prosecution gives opening statement in Samantha Woll murder trial

Prosecution gives opening statement in Samantha Woll murder trial

VIDEO: Defense gives opening statement in Samantha Woll murder trial

Defense gives opening statement in Samantha Woll murder trial

Testimony is expected to begin Wednesday.

Story after Monday's trial below

Day 1 of jury selection for the trial of the Detroit man accused of murdering Samantha Woll began with journalists being told they would not be allowed to sit in the courtroom, or even be in the courthouse - an unusual start to the trial for a case that has been unusual from the start.

“I mean this is a first that you’re not allowed in the courthouse itself, wow,” said legal expert and attorney Todd Flood.

He said, “A judge can not allow cameras in, but a judge, it’s my understanding that it’s the public’s court, they’re allowed to have reporters there to report on the case.”

If Flood had to pick a reason why the public was being told they could not be in the courtroom he said it’s most likely being kept closed for the privacy of the jurors as the case is one that has already garnered national attention.

It all started on Saturday, October 21 2023 when beloved community Jewish leader Samantha Woll was found dead, stabbed eight times outside of her Detroit apartment.

RELATED STORY: Detroit synagogue president found dead outside home; police to provide update Sunday

Detroit synagogue president found dead outside home; police to provide update Sunday

Police believe 40-year-old Woll was attacked inside her home and stumbled outside sometime after midnight after arriving home from a wedding.

There were no signs of forced entry at her home.

Weeks later Michael Jackson-Bolanos, a Detroit man in his late 20’s was arrested and charged with Woll’s murder.

RELATED STORY: Man charged with murder in killing of Samantha Woll, Detroit synagogue leader

Man charged with murder in killing of Samantha Woll, Detroit synagogue leader

Police say they don’t think the two knew each other, which is odd to those who study crime.

“Oftentimes you will find that there is a connection in rage type multiple stabbings, strangulations,” said Flood.

Jackson-Bolanos is charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, first-degree home invasion, and lying to police in connection with Woll’s death.

RELATED STORY: Prosecutors detail evidence that led to arrest of suspect in Samantha Woll's murder

Prosecutors detail evidence that led to arrest of suspect in Samantha Woll's murder

The prosecution has shown video evidence that they say links Jackson-Bolanos to Woll’s neighborhood the night of her death.

Investigators say they found a black North Face jacket in Jackson-Bolanos’ apartment that had stains on it.

The stains were tested and investigators say they are close to certain that the blood on the jacket belongs to Woll.

Jackson-Bolanos’ attorney has said his client is denying all allegations against him and his client is likely a victim of circumstance.

“They’re going to try to cut holes, ‘there’s no footage, there’s no camera, there’s no ability to connect me to that scene,’ except for the government is going to rebut that with obviously DNA,” said Flood.

The court expects opening statements in this trial to begin Tuesday at 1 p.m.

7 News Detroit will be there.