Police charge friend of slain Jewish student Bernstein with felony murder

Woodward’s alleged motive has not been disclosed.

By JTA
January 16, 2018 08:38
1 minute read.
Crime scene [illustrative]

Crime scene [illustrative]. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

NEW YORK - The former classmate of slain Jewish Ivy league student Blaze Berstein has been charged with his murder, Orange County prosecutors announced on Wednesday. Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, was charged with one count of felony murder and a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife, according to The Los Angeles Times. Woodward was arrested Friday after investigators linked forensic DNA evidence to the Newport Beach man found inside his car.

Bernstein, 19, was discovered in a shallow grave near Lake Forrest Park with more than 20 stabs wounds to his body last week, The Orange County Register reported.

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Local authorities believe that Woodward murdered the 19-year-old pre-med student after the latter attempted to kiss him before they arrived at the park. Woodward was found with “abrasions, scratches and dirt on his hands,” when police apprehended him last week. Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas also claims that Woodward cleaned the car that he used the night he picked up Bernstein and visited the crime scene “days after the murder.”

“This is a senseless murder of a young man who possessed a combination of a high-caliber mind and the heart of a poet,” Rackauckas said. According to an affidavit obtained by the Register, Woodward clenched his jaw and balled his fists while detectives questioned him about Bernstein's intimate advances, telling officers that he wanted "Blaze to get off of him." Following the affidavit's publication, the Bernstein's family released a statement saying they believe their son was slaughtered because he was gay.


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