Samuel Woodward mugshot

Blaze Bernstein’s alleged killer described as ‘quiet’ and ‘angsty’ with anti-gay views

More details are emerging about the man accused of killing 19-year-old college student Blaze Bernstein, who was found on Jan. 9 in Foothills Ranch, California, stabbed 20 times and dumped into a shallow grave.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Samuel Woodward, who met Blaze when they both attended high school at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, was described by his former teacher as “quiet” and “angsty.” 

“It’s an arts school, so there were a lot of large personalities around him,” Philip Schwadron, Woodward’s 10th grade art teacher said. “He was not one of the ones who got loose. You could see him watch the others be more free with their personalities, but he was not like that.”

“He was not the kind of person who got in anyone’s face or was a bully,” the teacher continued. “He was just an angsty 15-year-old kid.”

On the other hand, Woodward’s ASKfm page painted him as a conservative Christian who disagreed with same-sex relationships and showed contempt for former President Obama. According to ABC, Woodward called Obama an “arrogant, hypocritical, spineless socialist.” He also reportedly wrote about his disdain for singer Macklemore’s song “Same Love,” which shows support and approval for same-sex marriage.

Woodward is currently behind bars without bail, facing a felony murder charge for the killing of Blaze.

Blaze Bernstein
Blaze Bernstein [Photo: The Blaze Bernstein Memorial Fund]
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Orange County authorities arrested Woodward shortly after he left his Newport Beach home on Jan. 12. At around 1:15 p.m. a photo was taken of the suspect arriving to the jail.

During a press conference, a sheriff’s spokesperson said that although Blaze’s disappearance was initially treated as a missing persons case, the abundance of clues, information, and the ultimate discovery of the victim’s body, found buried in a shallow grave on the south end of Borrego Park, turned it into a homicide case. Authorities believe that Blaze and the suspect drove around to several locations before ultimately ending up at the park.

Woodward previously told homicide detectives that he drove Blaze to Borrego Park, at Foothill Ranch, on Jan. 2 at around midnight. He said that he waited in his car while Blaze walked to the park, then waited for around an hour the victim to return, but he never did. Woodward said he then drove away, but returned a few hours to look for Blaze in and around the area, but couldn’t locate him. It’s unclear why the suspect didn’t check to see if Blaze made it home to his parent’s house, who live around five minutes away from the park.

Authorities are not specifying the condition of Blaze’s body or how he died yet, as there is still an ongoing, active investigation in the case. Woodward is expected to learn what his formal charges are by Tuesday at the latest. So far, there’s no information regarding motive.

Detectives wrote in a warrant affidavit that while interviewing Woodward shortly after the victim’s disappearance, they noticed his hands were scratched and he had “dirt under the fingernails” on both of his hands.

The warrant also stated that the friend was also “breathing heavy, talking fast and visibly shaking.” He explained he was a member of a “fight club” and had gotten scratched and dirty while participating. Further, he apparently didn’t want his hands to touch any doors while on his way to talk to detectives.

“On their way out of Sheriff’s Headquarters, (investigators) noticed every door (the friend) had to touch on the way out of the building he pulled his jacket over his hand to prevent his hand and fingers from touching any part of the doors he touched,” the affidavit read.

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: Samuel Woodward/Police Handout]