Sunday, January 14, 2018

Friend Arrested As Suspect In Murder Of Jewish Blaze Bernstein

Authorities on Friday arrested a friend in the killing of a 19-year-old Jewish University of Pennsylvania student whose body was found buried in a shallow grave at a California park.
Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach was taken into custody for investigation of homicide after DNA evidence linked him to the death of college sophomore Blaze Bernstein, Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said.
Woodward was the last person to see Bernstein alive, Barnes said.
Woodward was interviewed by investigators after Bernstein was reported missing by his parents on Jan. 3.
A sheriff’s investigator wrote in court filings that Woodward appeared nervous, had scratched hands and dirt under his fingernails, and avoided touching doors with his hands while leaving the sheriff’s office building.
When news of the arrest came out, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, the victim’s mother, responded to KABC reporter Greg Lee with a statement:
“Revenge is empty. It will never bring back my son. My only hopes are that he will never have the opportunity to hurt anyone else again and that something meaningful can come from the senseless act of Blaze’s murder,” her statement said, in part.

Bernstein was home visiting his family in Lake Forest during winter break when Woodward picked him up on Jan. 2 and drove with him to several places before winding up at a park.
Woodward told investigators that he left the park after Bernstein went out and didn’t return or respond to social media messages.
The two knew each other from high school, Barnes said.
He said investigators were still trying to determine a motive and would not release details of the crime, which he called a murder.
Prosecutors said they would review evidence as they determine what charges to file. Barnes said Woodward had asked for a lawyer.
It was not immediately possible to reach Woodward in custody, where he listed his occupation as “Nerf games,” according to the jail’s website.
Authorities searched for Bernstein for nearly a week with assistance from drone pilots and found his body on Tuesday after recent rains partially exposed it.
The death of Bernstein rocked the community of Lake Forest, 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles. Hundreds of people held a candlelight vigil to remember him.
It was the only homicide reported in Lake Forest in at least the past four years, according to authorities.
Bernstein had attended Orange County School of the Arts for creative writing. He was recently chosen to edit a culinary magazine at the University of Pennsylvania.
His parents urged community members to keep his memory alive by working to improve the world.
“With his death, a beautiful light has been extinguished and we encourage you to continue to shine his light, through acts of loving kindness,” the family said in a statement read by attorney Annee Della Donna.


Chafraud-Depravitch said...

It's beautiful that the Bernsteins are receiving so many expressions of love and support from their local community transcending religious boundaries. OC is not especially Jewish. And from all over social media people are placing rocks in Blaze's memory and even lit a candle Friday evening (our Sabbath) in tribute to Blaze.

I would hope not, but chances are when more details emerge, theyeshivaworld will drop the story. And I hope Chabad (very active in wealthy OC) doesn't bother the family when they smell an opportunity for "in memory of" donations.

The family, and the world, lost a brilliant, caring soul that had a life of great potential ahead of him. Just heartbreaking. I wish the family all the strength required to move on in any manner possible. Blaze's funeral is scheduled for Monday (tomorrow).

I hope the sickness that took Blaze from us never knows a life outside of prison.

Chafraud-Depravitch said...

Gideon Bernstein
1 hr

Dear Friends - we are appreciative of the continuing overwhelming support for our family. Many of you have asked if there will be a public memorial for Blaze. We’d like to share what we are planning: Monday, we are having a Memorial Service for Blaze for all friends of the family (those with personal connections to any member of the family), and people who knew Blaze. We hope you will respect our wishes here. We are planning a community celebration for Blaze’s life in a few weeks and will post details on this page when they are finalized. Thank you again for your outpouring of support. It means so much to all of us. Love, The Bernstein Family

AishKodesh said...

Oh I don't know if YeshivaWorld will drop the story. It's a great website.

Chafraud-Depravitch said...

AishKodesh said...

"Oh I don't know if YeshivaWorld will drop the story. It's a great website."

If you're not following the case closely, you're probably not stating an informed opinion. And "frum" sites can't adequately handle all of the facts surrounding this case. We'll see. Anyway, they may run some sanitized version of the story. YeshivaWorld may not love Jews like Blaze Bernstein, but they sure love advertising dollars.

AishKodesh said...

Please don't be so cynical, my dear friend. I'm sure they love Yidden like Blaze Bernstein z"l as well.