Big Blunder Now! Defendant Takes the Stand in Case of Gay College Student's Murder in California

Big Blunder Now! Defendant Takes the Stand in Case of Gay College Student’s Murder in California

WFCN – A California man who is accused of killing a gay University of Pennsylvania student six years ago in what is purported to have been a hate crime gave evidence on Tuesday regarding how the two men met in a park and on social media. The victim was last seen at that location.

With his long hair partially obscuring his face, 26-year-old Samuel Woodward took the stand during his trial in an Orange County courtroom. Several times, his attorney urged him to move it aside so the jury could see him.

Answering questions, Woodward admitted to the court that he had felt lonely at times and that he interacted with people almost exclusively through the internet. He admitted using a dating app to find old school buddy Blaze Bernstein.

When the two reunited six months later, he informed Bernstein that it was strange to be conversing with someone from a “conservative, Catholic family.”

Big Blunder Now! Defendant Takes the Stand in Case of Gay College Student's Murder in California

Image – The Seattle News

Woodward stated on the third day of his trial, which lasted for several months, “I had been looking for people to spend time with or talk to for a long time.”

In the 2018 disappearance of 19-year-old gay Jewish college sophomore Bernstein, who was home visiting family in Southern California for winter break, Woodward is charged with murder with an enhancement for a hate crime. A few days later, the body of Bernstein was discovered in a neighboring park, buried in a shallow grave.


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Based on screenshots of their exchanges disclosed during the trial, the two guys had gotten in touch online in the months prior to the attack.

Prosecutors alleged that Woodward had joined the violent, antisemitic, anti-gay Atomwaffen Division and had been reaching out to gay men on the internet, breaking off contact abruptly, all the while keeping a vile, profanity-filled log of his activities.

Additionally, according to the prosecution, Woodward demonstrated a desire to turn his comments into violent deeds, and they discovered hate group publications in his possession.

Ken Morrison, the defense lawyer, acknowledged that his client executed the deadly attack, but he maintained that Woodward had no intention of killing anyone and had no animosity for Bernstein.

He claimed that after growing up in a deeply religious and politically orthodox Catholic home where his father publicly condemned homosexuality, Woodward struggled in his interactions with others and struggled to understand his own sexual orientation. Woodward also suffered from a long-undiagnosed autistic spectrum disease.

Woodward admitted in his evidence that he had met and communicated with members of the group as well as read passages from the book “Siege,” which was published by the Atomwaffen Division.

It took years for the case to go to trial due to concerns raised about Woodward’s mental health and several defense lawyer changes. Woodward was found to be competent around the end of 2022 to face trial.


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There have been a lot of witnesses in this trial, including friends, family, and law enforcement. Woodward’s evidence has progressed slowly, with him pausing for extended periods of time before responding to inquiries from his lawyer.

After going to a park in Lake Forest, around 45 miles (70 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, at night with Woodward, Bernstein vanished in January 2018. Bernstein’s parents tried to contact him after he skipped his dental appointment the following day, but he didn’t answer their texts or calls. They discovered his glasses, wallet, and credit cards in his bedroom.

After doing a thorough search, the authorities reported that Bernstein’s family had gone through his social media and discovered that he had spoken with Woodward on Snapchat. Authorities claimed Woodward informed the family that Bernstein had left that evening to go meet a friend in the park and had not come back.

A few days later, Bernstein’s body was discovered in the park, buried. His neck and face had been stabbed numerous times.

A folding knife with a bloodied blade was discovered in Woodward’s room when authorities investigated his family’s Newport Beach home, which is close to the coast. Along with a variety of anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and hate organization propaganda, they also discovered a black Atomwaffen mask that had blood on it, according to the prosecution.

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