HomeNewsLocalAccused Killer Continues Testifying About Fatal Stabbing in Foothill Ranch

Accused Killer Continues Testifying About Fatal Stabbing in Foothill Ranch

SANTA ANA (CNS) – The man charged with the hate-crime fatal stabbing of a former gay classmate in Foothill Ranch is expected to continue testifying about the night of the killing when the trial resumes Thursday after the Juneteenth holiday.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 26, again denied any homosexual or bisexual tendencies during Tuesday’s testimony and began to tell the jury about the night he allegedly killed 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein.

Woodward who is charged with the Jan. 3, 2018, killing testified about troubles with the opposite sex, reconnecting with the victim and his general loneliness.

As he has since he first took the stand on Thursday, Woodward struggled to recall major events in his life, including attacks on him in jail since he was incarcerated six years ago.

Woodward did recall reconnecting with his former Orange County School of the Arts classmate on the Tinder dating app. The two attended the school together for four years until the defendant transferred to Corona Del Mar High School for his last two years of high school.

Woodward’s profile welcomed both genders for “plugs,” or “pals,” and women who want to go “star gazing” with him. Bernstein “super liked” Woodward when they matched on Tinder, sparking a reconnection between the two. The reference to “plug,” was slang for looking for “weed” dealers, he explained.

But Woodward said he “unmatched” with Bernstein before he moved to Texas for a couple of months after being drawn in by neo-Nazis. Woodward returned to his family in Newport Beach when he struggled to find work, ended up sleeping in his car and became tired of being hungry, according to his attorney, Ken Morrison of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office.

The two reconnected again when Woodward returned to Orange County.

“Had you known that Blaze was gay?” Morrison asked his client.

“Not at all,” Woodward said.

“I was just startled,” when Bernstein informed Woodward he was “very gay,” Woodward testified.

Woodward asked Bernstein if they could switch over to SnapChat to continue talking.

“There was something difficult I had to tell him,” Woodward said. “I basically thought he might be a casual acquaintance and that the reason for this, I told him on SnapChat, that I was looking for some people to hang out with, drink with, smoke with. Maybe go to, I don’t know, all sorts of recreational things, because I hated Tinder to communicate.”

Woodward, who has been diagnosed with having autism spectrum disorder, has testified about his difficulty making friends and not ever being able to get a date.

“I basically told him it was really awkward because of who he was. It was super awkward… because I came from a conservative Catholic family,” he testified.

“I felt super awkward about anyone looking over my shoulder,” and seeing him talk to Bernstein, he testified. “He pretty much said, don’t worry, I understand.”

Bernstein invited Woodward over to his neighborhood, where the defendant picked him up and they drove to a nearby park.

“I said, all right, cool,” he testified.

Bernstein got into the car with Woodward, and, “I think there was a brief exchange,” he testified. “I remember brief talking.”

Woodward said he had never been to the park before and that it was Bernstein’s idea to go there. The two got out and walked over to a bench where they sat down for awhile and then got back into the car, Woodward said.

“I think we moved over to a different spot,” Woodward said.

Woodward asked Bernstein if he wanted to drink or “smoke,” he said.

“I think maybe one of the places wasn’t really that good for any of those things so we moved over,” Woodward said.

Morrison said in court that he intends to continue attempting to “impeach” his client’s denials about previous statements he made to a psychiatric expert about homosexual tendencies. It’s a rare move by a defense attorney, but the defendant continues to deny that he sent lewd and nude photographs of himself to male classmates and dating app matches as well as a conversation he had with his father about sexual touching with males in school.

Morrison is also attempting to introduce into evidence that Woodward lost thousands of dollars buying goods for other inmates with the money his family put into his jailhouse account in what the defense attorney has referred to as “extortion.”

Morrison asked Woodward about a woman, Amanda, that he met through a dating app, but the defendant struggled to recall many details of their encounters in person until Morrison showed him a photo of her. In an interview with a psychiatric expert, Woodward had referred to her as a “significant other.”

“I saw her like two times, but that was about it,” he said.

“Did you have sex?” his attorney asked him.

“No, I don’t remember that,” he said. “Came close, but no.”

Woodward said they “kind of made out,” but when Morrison asked if they kissed he said no.

When the defense attorney asked him about multiple gay porn websites his search engine history showed he visited, Woodward claimed it was so he could gather material to troll someone who had been antagonizing an online chat group he was in.

“There was basically a place alongside other users where you could talk about whatever you like… everything from metaphysics, philosophy and things like that,” he testified. “One of the chat leaders, he basically liked to mess around with the other chat leaders.”

So, “because he would do everything in that chat to antagonize us, spamming, gore pictures and offensive jokes and things like that,” the others turned the tables on him, “photoshopping his face on pornographic images,” Woodward said.

“Was there ever a time in your life you wondered if you were gay?” his attorney asked Woodward.

“No,” he said.

When asked about whether he subscribed to the beliefs of the Attomwaffen Division neo-Nazi group, Woodward said he did not.

“It was a somewhat ridiculous thing to be a part of,” he said.

When Morrison asked him if he joined the group to gain a sense of family or belonging, he said, “Yes, you could definitely say that.”

Woodward recalled that one of his best memories included getting drunk with college friends and watching the Harry Potter movies. But he also recalled how disappointed he was when his friends at the college threw a party and he was one of the few not invited.

Woodward said he has been attacked about 10 times or so while in custody. In one of the attacks he was “gassed,” which, he explained was when an inmates hurls urine or diarrhea at another inmate from a cup.

Woodward said he couldn’t recall if he was doused with human waste when he was attacked.

“I was asleep on painkillers” when it happened, he said. “I woke up and didn’t know what it was… I was pushed into another room… It was an almost unbearably bad smell.”

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