By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
Blaze Bernstein, a 19 year-old Jewish Gay student who was looking forward to a bright and an exciting career ahead of him as a pre-med student at the University of Pennsylvania was stabbed to death with 20 stab wounds by a classmate he had hooked up with on Snapchat back on Jan. 2.
Bernstein’s life came to an end on Jan. 2 when the young prodigy went missing and was later found on Jan. 9 with 20 stab wounds in a part located in Orange County, California. Blaze was visiting his parents during his holiday break from school. Bernstein’s body was discovered in a shallow grave in Borrego Park, near his parent’s home.
The suspect arrested in the case was a fellow classmate, 20-year-old Samuel Lincoln Woodward who had changed his story several times to police during their interviews with the suspect.
Detectives found that the two teens had been using Snapchat for sometime. Detectives also said that they discovered Woodward had picked up Bernstein the night Blaze went missing from Bernstein’s parent’s home and during the interview with Woodward, detectives noticed that Woodward had scratches and dirt still on his hands.
During the course of the investigation detectives discovered text messages from June 2017, showing that Blaze Bernstein had told Snapchat friends that Woodward “hit on me” and “he made me promise not to tell anyone … but I have texted every one, uh oh.” said detectives.
However suspect Samuel Woodward told police that Bernstein came on to him at Borrego Park on the night of Jan. 2 and in fact Woodward told police that Bernstein kissed him which according to Woodward, immediately triggered a reaction to shove him away. Detectives also notice during their interview with Woodward that he was extremely tense. Woodward was allegedly clenching his jaw and fists, saying “he wanted Blaze to get off of him”, said police.
Should Woodward and his attorney attempt to use the so-called “gay panic defense” , they will fail as it is illegal in California.
Woodward was charged with one felony count of murder with a sensing enhancement with a knife by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
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