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Ex-boyfriends testify in Woll murder trial, no evidence links them

Jeffrey Herbstman, who suffers from depression, initially confessed to police; he was soon released.

JCRC/AJC board member Samantha Woll lighting candles in March 2018. Credit: Courtesy of JCRC/AJC.
JCRC/AJC board member Samantha Woll lighting candles in March 2018. Credit: Courtesy of JCRC/AJC.

In Detroit, the trial of Michael Jackson-Bolanos, 29, for the slaying of Jewish community leader Samantha Woll revealed details of the investigation to track down the killer.

On Monday, Jeffrey Herbstman, an ex-boyfriend of Woll, testified that he called police during a panic attack. Fearing that he had killed her but could not remember, Herbstman confessed to Woll’s death, leading law enforcement to take him into custody.

Herbstman, who suffers from depression, had recently started a new medication, according to reports. Investigators could not find evidence suggesting that he was involved with her death and released him.

Jodi Johnson, a forensic lab manager with Michigan State Police, also offered testimony, telling the court details of Woll’s stab wounds and the blood splattered at the crime scene.

Paul Spurgeon, a close friend of the victim, provided police with names of men Woll dated, including Herbstman and Aaron Pergament, hoping they could be ruled out as suspects.

Pergament testified that it was not unusual for the door to the Jewish leader’s home to be unlocked. He told the court that Woll “was a little bit lax about locking the doors.”

The prosecution argued that the unlocked door enabled the murder, as testimony resumed on Tuesday.

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