California man to stand trial for gay student's slaying


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — About six months before he was stabbed to death in what prosecutors call a hate crime, a gay University of Pennsylvania student graphically discussed hopes to have sex with the man now charged in his killing, an investigator said today.

Blaze Bernstein texted a friend a photo of Samuel Woodward and said the two had run into each other and he thought they were going to hook up, saying sex with the former schoolmate would be "legendary."

What led to that encounter was not clear during Woodward's preliminary hearing on murder and hate crime charges, but investigator Craig Goldsmith said among the anti-gay and hateful material found on his phone was mention of his efforts to pose as "gay curious" to attract men and then reveal it as a prank.

"That's what they deserve," Woodward wrote using an anti-gay slur.

Woodward, 21, was ordered to stand trial in Orange County Superior Court on murder and hate crime charges after prosecutors linked him to the stabbing through DNA and showed he had troves of homophobic and neo-Nazi material on his mobile phone. He has pleaded not guilty.

Woodward stabbed Bernstein nearly 20 times in the face and neck after the two met at a park in January, prosecutors said. The two had connected earlier in the evening on Snapchat and Woodward picked up Bernstein at his home.

Woodward told investigators he was disgusted when Bernstein kissed him on the lips in his SUV and pushed him back, but didn't say he did anything violent toward him.

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