Samantha Woll's ex-boyfriend on day 4 of trial: 'I began to believe that I was responsible for her death'

On day four of the Samantha Woll murder trial, her ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Herbstman, listened to the 911 call he made on Nov. 7 – in which he confessed to killing Woll.

Explaining the call, Herbstman says he was in the midst of a full-blown panic attack.

"I began to believe that I was responsible for her death – that I had somehow killed her and didn't remember," he said while on the stand. 

Herbstman, who suffers from depression and had started new medication, was taken into custody after his confession, but was then released because investigators couldn't find any evidence to support his claim.

Prosecutors have charged 29-year-old Michael Jackson-Bolanos with first-degree murder, home invasion, and lying to a peace officer after he allegedly stabbed Woll in her Detroit residence in October 2023. She was found dead outside her home in the 1360 block of Joliet Place.

Jackson-Bolanos did not know Woll at all.

Michael Jackson-Bolanos

Woll was stabbed in the front of the neck, multiple times in the side of the neck, the back of the neck, and twice in the back of the head, confirmed forensic lab manager with Michigan State Police, Jodi Johnson.

Johnson testified about the vast amount of blood at the crime scene. The defense attorney, Brian Brown, asked her if the person responsible for her murder would have blood on them as well.

"I think if somebody was close, very close to the individual during this, it is possible that they could have received some type of staining on them," Johnson said.

Investigators say surveillance video shows Jackson-Bolanos near Woll's residence at the time of her murder, but only a small amount of blood was found on his jacket. His defense attorney says that is because his client did not kill Woll.

Also taking the stand was one of Woll's closest friends, Paul Spurgeon. 

Spurgeon gave police a list of names of the men that Woll had dated in the past and recently.

"I wanted the police to look at those people and rule them out," he said.

Among them was Herbstman and Aaron Pergament, who was also questioned by police after Woll's murder.

Pergament testified that Woll's home was often unlocked.

"I know she was a little bit lax about locking the doors," Pergament said. "She did open the back door a couple of times because she did have a vape, and she would vape an blow it out the back door."

And prosecutors have said that unlocked doors allowed Woll's killer to enter her home that night.

Defense attorneys have called it a crime of passion – not the work of a petty thief like Jackson-Bolanos.

However, Spurgeon testified that none of the men in her life were dangerous.

"She would suffer a lot of fools in her life, but she would never suffer anybody that was violent or that would be harmful, physically," her best friend said. 

Testimony resumes on Tuesday.


Samantha Woll's friend, MSP officer and medical examiner testify on day 3 of trial

On the third day of testimony in the Samantha Woll murder trial, a life-long friend, a Michigan State Police officer, and an assistant medical examiner took the stand.