A new layer of horror has been added to the murder investigation of gay and Jewish student Blaze Bernstein, whose parents now claim was the victim of a hate crime.
The lead suspect in the case, Samuel Woodward, appears to have a racist background after some digging into his social media uncovered sinister details. In addition to posting white nationalist screeds on fringe sites, Woodward also recreated and posted an infamous neo-Nazi attack scene from the movie "American History X," in which he pretended to crush his friend's skull by stomping on it against a parking barrier.
"Anti-Semitism and homophobia were certainly aspects of his ideology," a user who was believed to be close to Woodward stated.
Furthermore, his social media is riddled with racist and excessively violent material, including a horrific rape fantasy about an Asian high school English teacher.
While both vile and gruesome, Woodward's social media posts have helped to provide the police with a motive behind Bernstein's killing.
When interviewed by the police, Woodward was extremely open about his hate, referring to Bernstein by an anti-gay slur and claimed that he had tried to kiss him.
The two had known each other from high school, and decided to meet up when Bernstein was home from college. Roughly a week later, he was found partially buried in a California park.
One of the most sickening aspects was Bernstein's trust in Woodward. Bernstein reportedly texted two friends prior to meeting up with Woodward saying that he thought he was interested in him. For a hang out that Bernstein was most likely looking forward to and excited about is truly heartbreaking.
Bernstein's parents have stepped forward not only to mourn their son, but to mourn for the entire LGBTQ community as they have to live in constant fear of harassment and hate crimes such as this.
"Our son was a beautiful gentle soul who we loved more than anything," they stated. "We were proud of everything he did and who he was. He had nothing to hide. We are in solidarity with our son and the LGBTQ community."
While it has not yet been confirmed that Bernstein's murder was a hate crime, Woodward's history is enough to raise plenty of red flags and the obvious hate and anger towards minorities that Woodward clearly feels, is disgusting.
Blaze's obituary is live at https://t.co/r3PPkgJHYF His life was short but the message is clear: we all have a story, we all can make a difference, we can all dream of a better world.....this is a message of hope. We can all repair the world in our own way. #Dogood4blaze— Jeanne Pepper (@bernsteinmom) January 14, 2018
Whoever created this, I thank you. Your art has touched me. You are making the world a better place. pic.twitter.com/KOuixcvQK3— Jeanne Pepper (@bernsteinmom) January 13, 2018
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Shannon Stapleton