Prosecutors have reasons to believe that the Blaze Bernstein, the California pre-med student who was murdered and dumped in a shallow grave, might have been the target of a hate crime. Newly-emerged documents revealed that Samuel Lincoln Woodward might have murdered Bernstein after the student attempted to kiss him.
Blaze Bernstein Stabbed Repeatedly by Woodward
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the investigators have reasons to believe that the California pre-med student’s murder was a hate crime. A search warrant affidavit obtained by the Orange County Register shows an enraged Samuel Lincoln Woodward gushing out gay slurs at Blaze Bernstein.
The document shows that on the 2nd of January, Bernstein and Woodward drove to a secluded spot of the Lake Forest Hobby Lobby. During their conversation, Woodward admits that Bernstein attempted to kiss him on the lips, a gesture that irked the 20-year-old.
Furthermore, the investigation revealed that Woodward pushed Bernstein away when he leaned in to kiss him. During his police interview, the young man clenched his jaw and fists every time he talked about the incident. Woodward also used gay slurs in order to characterize his friend.
Bernstein’s body turned out several days later. According to the investigators, Blaze was buried in a shallow grave, just outside of Lake Forest.
On Friday, while serving an arrest warrant, the investigators discovered a sleeping bag in Woodward’s home with Bernstein’s blood on it. The autopsy report states that Woodward stabbed Bernstein at least 20 times.
The man is scheduled to appear before the jury on Wednesday. Given the fact that this might be a hate crime, the punishment could be harsher. If found guilty, Woodward might face life in prison or even the capital punishment.
The interviews also revealed that Bernstein had a crush on his friend for quite a while, the young man telling one of his female friends that he wishes to have sex with him.
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