Man charged with stabbing beloved Detroit synagogue leader Police said the two did not know each other

Sarah Rice/AFP/Getty Images

Detroit police officers work near the scene of the death of downtown synagogue leader Samantha Voll, Oct. 21, 2023, in Detroit.


A Detroit man has been charged with murder in an October slaying Detroit Synagogue President Samantha Voll during a home invasion, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Michael Jackson-Bolaños, 28, is charged with aggravated murder during the commission of a felony or attempted first-degree home invasion, according to the Detroit Police Department. If convicted, the defendant faces life in prison without parole, prosecutors said.

He was charged with a home invasion and lying to a peace officer, police said. CNN could not immediately identify an attorney for him.

“Let me be very clear … there is no truth to suggest that this defendant knew Ms. Woll, and there is no truth to suggest that this was a hate crime,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy said during a news conference Wednesday.

“There is no evidence,” he said later.

Wohl, board president of the Isaac Acree Downtown Synagogue, was found stabbed to death outside his home in the early morning hours of Oct. 21. He is believed to have stumbled out after he was attacked.

Isaac acknowledges the downtown synagogue

Samantha Wall

Officials said Voll had attended a wedding yesterday evening and appeared normal. She returned home after midnight and found no signs of forced entry into her home. Police said after she was killed.

The suspect had been on authorities’ radar “a few weeks ago” and was being investigated for larceny at the time, Detroit Police Chief James E. White said Wednesday.

“We identified him in a specific area where we were interested in his activities. We were able to link him to a number of thefts, and then when we brought him in for questioning on those thefts, we got into some other areas of the investigation (and) some concerns came up,” he said. The Chief Minister said.

The suspect was released because authorities still did not have enough evidence to charge him with murder, White said.

Detroit Police Department

Michael Jackson-Bolaños, 28, of Detroit, was charged with killing Samantha Voll.

“We know where he is, we know his movements. No one in our community is in danger at any time. We know where he worked, we know his phone traffic,” White said. When authorities had enough information to arrest him, he was “a was taken into custody “within hours,” the chief said.

A medical examiner determined Wohl’s death was caused by multiple blunt force injuries from a straight-edged cutting tool, Worthy said. Jackson-Bolaños broke into Woll’s home, stabbed her multiple times, and “lied to police making statements he knew to be false and misleading in the investigation of the case,” prosecutors said in a news release.

“This is an extraordinarily sad and tragic case,” Worthy said Wednesday. Since the day Voll was killed, the prosecutor said, officers have often worked “around the clock.” “Every known lead, potential suspect, forensic submission and other investigative tools were continually utilized by the Detroit Police Department.”

“An incredible amount of work went into the investigative phase of this case,” Worthy added.

Wohl’s family thanked Detroit police in a statement obtained by a CNN affiliate WXYZ From the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC on Wednesday night.

“Our family is deeply grateful to the hardworking women and men of the DPD Homicide Task Force who worked around the clock for weeks to fully investigate this tragic crime. We are sure that with their dedication and tireless efforts, they have successfully solved this senseless crime. We cannot thank them enough,” the statement said.

“Samantha’s death is an unspeakable tragedy that has affected not only her family and friends, but also those who knew her as a dedicated community activist, leader and bridge builder. She was deeply loved and her light spread far and wide.

Last month, police said a suspect had been arrested in connection with the murder, but the man was not arrested He was later released. At a news conference Wednesday, Worthy said the man was “not a suspect in this case.”

Jackson-Bolaños was arrested and booked into jail, police said.

CNN could not confirm details of the court appearance. His probable cause conference is scheduled for Dec. 27, police said.

This is a developing story and has been updated.

Correction: An earlier version of this report provided incorrect evidence of possible punishment. This is from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

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