Man killed his gay classmate because he was hitting on him and kissed him on the lipsBy Tanya Clark 1:43 PM January 18, 2018
A man told investigators that he killed his classmate because he was hitting on him and kissed him on the lips without permission, according to police in California.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office said that Samuel Woodward, 20, was charged with murdering the victim and burying his body in a shallow grave in Borrego Park in Lake Forest.
At approximately 11:00 p.m., on Tuesday, Woodward picked up the victim, 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, from his residence in Lake Forest.
The victim and the defendant knew each other from attending Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana.
Woodward is accused of driving with the victim to the parking lot of a shopping center on Portola Parkway in Foothill Ranch.
Later that evening, Woodward is accused of driving the victim to Borrego Park in Lake Forest.
The defendant, who is 185 pounds, is accused of murdering Bernstein, who was 135 pounds, by stabbing the victim multiple times.
Woodward is accused of burying the victim’s body in the dirt perimeter of Borrego Park.
On Wednesday, Bernstein’s parents contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to report the victim as a missing person.
After a long investigation, which included a team of 25 search and rescue deputies, police K-9 dogs, multiple helicopter searches, and drones, investigators discovered the victim’s body in a shallow grave in Borrego Park.
Woodward had abrasions on his arms and dirt on his hands.
Woodward is accused of providing a false explanation about the injuries on his hands.
He is further accused of cleaning up his car and acting in a manner which would avoid leaving his DNA to law enforcement.
Woodward was charged with murder and criminal use of a knife.
If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
Prosecutors might file hate crimes charges against Woodward after claiming that he became angry with Bernstein for kissing him on the lips without permission.
Bernstein’s parents say the killing may have been a hate crime against their gay son.
Woodward was Bernstein’s former classmate at the Orange County School of the Arts.
He is being held without bail.