Crime News Us News

California Man Faces Court for Killing Gay Student in Pennsylvania, Cites Conservative Upbringing as Influence

California Man Faces Court for Killing Gay Student in Pennsylvania, Cites Conservative Upbringing as Influence

A man from California, who is facing charges for the murder of a gay University of Pennsylvania student in what is believed to be a hate crime, gave testimony on Tuesday regarding how the two individuals initially connected on social media and later met up at a park. This was the final sighting of the victim.

A 26-year-old man named Samuel Woodward appeared in an Orange County courtroom, with his long hair partially obscuring his face, as he took the stand in his trial. Despite his lawyer’s repeated requests, he refused to put it aside, insisting that the jurors see him.

During the questioning, Woodward shared with the court that there were moments in his life when he experienced a lack of companionship, relying mostly on online communication as his primary means of connecting with others.

He admitted to connecting with a former high school classmate, Blaze Bernstein, on a dating app. Six months later, when they reconnected, he mentioned that it felt uncomfortable to be chatting due to his background in a “conservative, Catholic family.”

Woodward faces charges of murder with a hate crime enhancement in connection with the tragic death of Bernstein. The victim, a 19-year-old gay Jewish college sophomore, was visiting his family in Southern California during winter break when he went missing in 2018. The discovery of Bernstein’s body occurred several days later, when it was found buried in a shallow grave in a nearby park.

High-School Girl Molested by Spanish Teacher Behind Closed Doors; Teacher Arrested after Another Teacher Found Victim Hiding and Sobbing in Bathroom in Pennsylvania

During the trial, screenshots of their online conversations were presented, revealing that the two men had established a connection in the months leading up to the attack.

Prosecutors revealed that Woodward had become a member of a notorious extremist group called Atomwaffen Division. Disturbingly, he engaged in a pattern of targeting gay men online, initially reaching out to them only to abruptly cut off contact.

Additionally, he maintained a journal filled with hateful language and profanity, documenting his reprehensible actions. According to prosecutors, Woodward displayed a concerning inclination towards transitioning from mere words to violent actions. Additionally, they discovered materials associated with hate groups in his possession.

According to defense attorney Ken Morrison, while his client did carry out the fatal attack, it is important to note that there was no premeditation or hatred towards Bernstein involved.

Woodward’s personal relationships were affected by an undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder, causing him to face challenges. Additionally, growing up in a politically conservative and devout Catholic family, where his father openly criticized homosexuality, left him confused about his own sexuality.

During his testimony, Woodward admitted to being familiar with passages from the book “Siege” – a text endorsed by Atomwaffen Division – and acknowledged having interactions and meetings with members of the group as per The Independent.

In January 2018, Bernstein vanished after an evening outing with Woodward to a park in Lake Forest, approximately 45 miles (70 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles. Following Bernstein’s failure to attend a scheduled dentist appointment, his parents discovered his glasses, wallet, and credit cards in his bedroom. Despite their attempts to contact him via texts and calls, he did not respond.

California Teacher Sought Underage Girls for Sex; Busted by Undercover Agent; Pleads Guilty for Deeply Disturbing Acts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *