Michael Jackson-Bolanos maintains he did not kill Woll during testimony, admits lying to police

The 29-year-old accused of fatally stabbing Jewish leader Samantha Woll was back on the stand on Monday. He maintained his innocence, denying that he killed Woll, but admitted that he had lied to police about coming across her body the night of her murder.

After a break for the long holiday weekend, Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Dominic Degrazia cross-examined Jackson-Bolanos.

Degrazia: "That statement about 'I don't lie.' That itself is a lie – right?"

Jackson-Bolanos: "Yes."

Degrazia: "Remember telling the police that 'I don't steal?'"

Jackson-Bolanos: "Yes."

Degrazia: "That is a lie, correct?"

Jackson-Bolanos: "Yes."

The defendant is charged with first-degree murder, home invasion, and lying to a peace officer in connection with Woll's fatal stabbing on Oct. 21, 2023. Woll was found dead outside her Joliet Place home in Detroit after being stabbed eight times inside her residence. 

Jackson-Bolanos has confessed that he was out stealing from cars at the time of Woll's murder, but says he is not a killer. 

While on the stand, he admitted seeing Woll's body lying on the ground as he walked around the area the night of Oct. 21. He said he went up to her and checked to see if she was alive, but did not call police when he realized she was dead due to him stealing items from vehicles that night.

Degrazia: "Your statement to the police about not seeing anybody else out there – that is a lie, right?"

"Yes," Jackson-Bolanos answered. "They told me that I had went in somebody's house. That's why I told them I did not see anybody. I didn't want to be accused of something I didn't do."

Michael-Jackson Bolanos continues testifying on Monday, July 8, 2024. He is accused of 

And that was exactly what happened when Jackson-Bolanos was arrested and questioned by police more than a month after Woll's murder, he said.

Her ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Herbstman, had confessed to killing Woll after he said he had a panic attack due to altering his medication and consuming marijuana. Herbstman was never charged because Detroit police say they did not find any evidence that he fatally stabbed Woll. 

"Would it surprise you to find out that you lied over 40 times about not seeing anyone besides a security guard and a homeless person?" Degrazia asked Jackson-Bolanos on Monday. "You said that 40 times just on Nov. 30th alone. Does that surprise you?"

"I'm not sure if it's surprising," Jackson-Bolanos answered. "You try being accused of going and killing someone."

Investigators say surveillance video shows Jackson-Bolanos near Woll's residence at the time of her murder, but only a small amount of her blood was found on his jacket. 

"I stated that I did touch the body. I was telling the truth. I'm here today, sworn and affirmed, to tell the truth," Jackson-Bolanos said. "I may have lied in the past, but today I'm telling the truth; last week – telling the truth."

Defense Attorney Brian Brown called Detroit Police Officer Chad Ossman to the stand on Monday, who transported the defendant to jail after interrogating him on Nov. 30.

"He just kept saying that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Ossman said.

Brown: "I asked you whether or not you remembered if Mr. Jackson-Bolanos mentioned anything about coming across a body. You remember that, correct?"

Ossman: "Yes, he said he came across a body."

That officer admitted he did not mention that Jackson-Bolanos said he saw a body in his police report.

Brown, once again on Monday, asked Jackson-Bolanos if he killed Woll.

"No, I did not," Jackson-Bolanos responded.

Brown: "Did you go inside her apartment?"

Jackson-Bolanos: "I did not."

Closing arguments will take place Tuesday morning.