Man pleads not guilty to hate-crime mur­der

The Washington Post - - NEWS -

A South­ern Cal­i­for­nia man pleaded not guilty on Fri­day to the mur­der of a gay Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia stu­dent in a hate crime.

Sa­muel Woodward, 21, from Newport Beach, Calif., en­tered the plea dur­ing a hear­ing in Or­ange County Su­pe­rior Court.

Bail was pre­vi­ously set at $5 mil­lion, but Judge Kim­berly Men­ninger or­dered Woodward held with­out bail at pros­e­cu­tors’ re­quest, say­ing she be­lieved he would be a dan­ger to the com­mu­nity if re­leased.

Woodward is charged in the Jan­uary stab­bing death of col­lege sopho­more Blaze Bern­stein, 19, who was home vis­it­ing his fam­ily on win­ter break. Both at­tended the same high school in Or­ange County.

Bern­stein, who was gay and Jewish, went miss­ing af­ter he went out with Woodward to a park in Lake For­est, Calif. His body was found days later buried at the park in a shal­low grave.

Ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties, Woodward picked up Bern­stein from his par­ents’ home and stabbed him nearly 20 times in the face and neck. DNA ev­i­dence links Woodward to the crime, and his cell­phone con­tained troves of anti-gay, anti-Semitic and hate-group ma­te­ri­als, pros­e­cu­tors have said.

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