As the investigation into the grisly murder of UPenn student Blaze Bernstein continues, more and more details are beginning to come to light.
As the Inquisitr reported last week, an arrest was finally made in connection with the case. On January 12, more than a week after Bernstein went missing, Samuel Lincoln Woodward was taken into police custody when cuts and scrapes were found on his body during an interview. Both DNA samples and inconsistencies in Woodward’s story also played a part in the arrest.
The Los Angeles Times reports that authorities originally used Blaze’s Snapchat account to trace everything back to Woodward, who is a former classmate of Bernstein’s. Woodward told police that he picked up Bernstein on the night of January 2 and dropped him off at a nearby park. He claimed that was the last that he saw Blaze. Bernstein’s body was later found in a shallow grave at Borrego Park in Lake Forest with 20 stab wounds.
According to the Perez Hilton, Woodward told investigators that Blaze kissed him on the lips while they were sitting in the parking lot of a Hobby Lobby. Woodward did not take well to the kiss attempt and pushed Bernstein off of him while clenching his jaws and fists. The Los Angeles Times states that at that time, Woodward wanted to call Bernstein a “fa**ot” but didn’t.
— O.C. Register (@ocregister) January 10, 2018
Perez Hilton goes on to report that Blaze had plans to sexually pursue Woodward and he even told two of his friends that Samuel was about to hit on him.
Due to the fact that Bernstein may have been killed because of his sexual orientation, authorities are not ruling out a hate crime.
“We have an obligation to file charges only if there’s sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. A hate crime of special circumstance allegation requires that level of proof… if and when we find it, we will amend the charges,” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
The suspect in the Blaze Bernstein homicide case arrived at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department headquarters wearing a hoodie that says “Keep the Peace” https://t.co/rud1nD7wA2 pic.twitter.com/5En5fO120X
— O.C. Register (@ocregister) January 12, 2018
According to ABC News, Rackauckas also told reporters that in order for the charges of a hate crime to be sustained, they will need evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to prove that Blaze was murdered because he’s gay.
In a statement by Blaze’s parents, Jeanne and Gideon, they called their son a “beautiful gentle soul” who they loved more than anything. They go on to say that they are proud of everything that Blaze had accomplished in his life before saying that he had nothing to hide. The post ends with a special message.
“There is still much discovery to be done and if it is determined that this was a hate crime, we will cry not only for our son, but for LGBTQ people everywhere that live in fear or who have been victims of hate crime,” ABC 7 reports.
Woodward is set to appear back in court early next month.