An investigator testified Tuesday that a California man charged with killing a gay University of Pennsylvania student had troves of anti-gay, anti-semitic and white hate group material on his phone.
Investigator Craig Goldsmith told an Orange County Superior Court hearing that Samuel Woodward had over 100 pieces of content related to the violent hate group Atomwaffen. The group’s insignia was the wallpaper on his phone.
The hearing will determine whether Woodward should be tried on a count of murder and hate crime allegations in the January stabbing of Blaze Bernstein.
Bernstein went missing after going out at night with Woodward to a local park in the community of Lake Forest southeast of Los Angeles. His body was found in a shallow grave in the park.
Goldsmith said Woodward’s phone was full of anti-gay and homophobic material and pictures with Nazi references.
Bernstein was gay and Jewish.
Woodward, 21, has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and an allegation that it was a hate crime that would allow prosecutors to seek a sentence of up to life in prison without parole.
Bernstein, 19, vanished in January after he and Woodward, former high school classmates, met at night in Borrego Park in the Foothill Ranch area of Lake Forest.
Bernstein, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, was home in Lake Forest visiting his parents during winter break.
He was missing for nearly a week before his body was found. He had been stabbed more than 20 times.
Woodward told police he became angry after Bernstein kissed him that night, according to court documents.
Defense lawyer Edward Munoz has said Woodward has a “serious mental disorder” and struggled with his own sexual identity.
Woodward was arrested after DNA found in the park and his car linked him to the slaying, according to authorities.