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Crime

Man accused of killing gay classmate was ‘sexually confused’

Patrick Kelleher August 23, 2018

Samuel Woodward (Allen J. Schaben/Getty)

A 21-year-old man from California who is accused of killing a former classmate for being gay struggled with his own sexuality, according to his lawyer.

Samuel Woodward has been charged with first-degree murder with hate crime enhancement in the death of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein.

Blaze Bernstein

Woodward’s lawyer, Edward Munoz, yesterday told Buzzfeed News that he has Asperger’s syndrome, and also has issues “around sexual orientation.”

“There’s going to be some evidence that comes out that shows he’s very confused,” Munoz told Buzzfeed.

When Woodward was arrested for the crime, he had dirt under his fingernails as well as cuts and bruises, and told investigators that Bernstein had kissed him.

A preliminary hearing that was due to take place yesterday was postponed because the defence is still reviewing evidence obtained from Woodward’s phone and computer.

Evidence from his computer and social media profiles suggest that he is a neo-Nazi, and that he is also holds discriminatory views towards Jews, women and people of different ethnicities.

He also posted content that was racist and violent, with some of it relating to white nationalism, on a meme website called iFunny.

Woodward and Bernstein were classmates at Orange County School of the Arts. Bernstein went on to study at the University of Pennsylvania and was at home for a break when he was killed last January.

The pair reconnected and went to a local park. Bernstein’s body was found days later in a shallow grave and he had been stabbed more than 20 times.

Blaze Bernstein

It was revealed in February that a US white supremacist group celebrated the killing of the gay, Jewish student.

The group embraces a “Third Reich ideology” towards gay people and other minorities. One poster from the group encourages LGBT+ people to take their own lives.

Speaking about the death of their son, Blaze Bernstein’s parents said he was “a beautiful and gentle soul who we loved more than anything.

“We were proud of everything he did and who he was. He had nothing to hide. We are in solidarity with our son and the LGBTQ community.”

More: samuel woodward, US

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