Gay Teen Blaze Bernstein's Murder Was A Hate Crime, OC DA Says

This image provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department shows Blaze Bernstein, the 19-year-old college student who was found dead at a park while on winter break from his studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
This image provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department shows Blaze Bernstein, the 19-year-old college student who was found dead at a park while on winter break from his studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Orange County Sheriff's Department

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In January, Blaze Bernstein, a gay teen, was killed and his former high school classmate, Samuel Woodward, was arrested for the murder. At the time, there was speculation that 19 year old Bernstein was killed because he was gay, but prosecutors didn't have any evidence to support that.

Now, after finding troubling images on Woodward's cell phone and laptop, the Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has announced that he is adding a hate-crime enhancement to Woodward's existing murder charge.

"We will prove that Woodward killed Blaze because Blaze was gay," said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.