CBS’ ’48 Hours: In the Name of Hate’ is an episode that profiles the early 2018 murder of Blaze Bernstein in his hometown of Orange County, California. The 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student was found stabbed to death in Borrego Park, Foothill Ranch, a week after he’d gone missing on January 2. Thankfully, though, physical evidence and thorough inquiries helped investigators apprehend his alleged perpetrator, Samuel Woodward, just days later. So now, if you’re curious to know about him, including his current whereabouts, we’ve got the details for you.
Who is Samuel Woodward?
Samuel “Sam” Lincoln Woodward has always been described as a serious person who never seemed to have many friends, even while attending the prestigious Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in Santa Ana. As per some of his teachers and classmates, he developed a reputation for being racist, homophobic, and sexist quite early on. Unfortunately, it appears as if things didn’t change for Sam even when he left after sophomore year to attend a more traditional high school. In fact, by 2018, Sam had dropped out of college, was working part-time, and living at home with his parents. Moreover, he was allegedly a member of a neo-Nazi terrorist organization called Atomwaffen Division.
Consequently, once Blaze, an openly gay and Jew teenager, disappeared, and it came to light that he had sent his home address to Sam just around that time, it raised suspicion. Upon asking, the then 20-year-old revealed that he’d picked up Blaze and driven to Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch just to hang out. After a while, Sam said, Blaze kissed him on the lips, and Sam pushed Blaze away. The victim then got up and walked away alone, only to disappear into the vicinity. Thus, after his body was recovered from the same area and a search of Sam’s vehicle and home yielded evidence tying him to the crime, he was charged with murder and personal use of a deadly weapon. His arrest occurred on January 12, ten days after Blaze’s brutal and malicious murder.
Where is Samuel Woodward Now?
Following his initial not guilty plea, Samuel “Sam” Woodward’s bail was set at $5 million. However, in November 2018, his bail was revoked by a judge after the prosecutors filed a motion asking for its increase due to the hate crime enhancements in his charges around two months earlier. The two increased counts implicated Sam for killing Blaze based on sexual orientation alone, an allegation made by the District Attorney after experts examined his cell phone, laptop, and social media. The DA said in a press conference that the evidence “revealed the dark side of [Sam’s] thoughts and intentions.”
Subsequently, Sam yet again pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and went as far as to deny the enhancements. Although his jury trial has not yet begun or even been scheduled due to the lengthy legal processes and the COVID-19 pandemic, he continues to make several court appearances for related pre-trial hearings. In other words, Sam Woodward is currently incarcerated at a county jail, where he’ll remain until this matter proceeds further. He was facing a maximum sentence of 26 years behind bars, but the enhancement means that Sam now faces life in prison without parole if convicted.
Read More: Where Are Blaze Bernstein’s Parents Now?