Samuel Woodward, recently convicted of the hate crime murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, a gay Jewish teenager from California. (Orange County Sheriff’s Office)


Samuel Woodward lured Blaze Bernstein into the woods and stabbed him over two dozen times in 2018, a California jury found on Wednesday.

By Dion J. Pierre, Algemeiner

A jury in Orange County, California on Wednesday convicted a neo-Nazi of the hate-crime murder of a gay Jewish teenager he lured to the woods under the false pretense of a furtive hook-up.

According to court documents, Samuel Woodward — a member of the Neo-Nazi group the Atomwaffen Division — stabbed 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein over two dozen times in 2018 after pretending in a series of Tinder messages to be interested in a first-time homosexual encounter.

Bernstein was unaware of Woodward’s paranoiac and hateful far-right ideology, however.

The now 26-year-old Woodward had withdrawn from college to join the Atomwaffen Division — whose members have been linked to several other murders, including a young man who killed his ex-girlfriend’s parents — idolized Adolf Hitler, and would spend hours on Grindr searching for gay men to humiliate and “ghost,” ceasing all contact with them after posing as a coquettish “bicurious” Catholic.

“I tell sodomites that I’m bi-curious, which makes them want to ‘convert’ me,” Woodward said in his diary quoted by The Los Angeles Times. “Get them hooked by acting coy, maybe then send them a pic or two, beat around the bus and pretend to tell them that I like them and then kabam, I either un-friend them or tell them they have been pranked, ha ha.”

In another entry, Woodward wrote, “They think they are going to get hate crimed [sic] and it scares the s— out of them.”

On the day of the killing, Woodward agreed to drive Bernstein to Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, where he stabbed him as many as 30 times and buried him in a “shallow grave,” according to various reports.

He never denied his guilt, but in court his attorneys resorted to blaming the crime on his being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and feeling conflicted about his sexuality, LA Times reported.

As the trial progressed, his attorneys also made multiple attempts to decouple Woodward’s Nazism from the murder, arguing that it was not a hate crime and that no mention of his trove of fascist paraphernalia and antisemitic and homophobic views should be uttered in court.

“No verdict can bring back Blaze. He was an amazing human and humanitarian and a person we were greatly looking forward to having in our lives, seeing wondrous things from him as his young life unfolded” the family of the victim, who has been described by all who knew him as amiable and talented, said in a statement shared by ABC News.

“From this funny, articulate, kind, intelligent, caring, and brilliant scientist, artist, writer, chef, and son, there will never be anyone quite like him. His gifts will never be realized or shared now.”

With Wednesday’s guilty verdict, Woodward may never be free again. He faces life in prison without parole at his sentencing on Oct. 25.

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