NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The hatred that inspired a California man to kill a gay University of Pennsylvania student is spelled out on the suspect's cellphone, laptop and social media, prosecutors said.
Samuel Woodward left a trail of clues that showed hatred toward "basically every protected group," but he was primarily driven to stab Blaze Bernstein to death because the victim was gay, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
Prosecutors will begin presenting some of that evidence in court Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court to persuade a judge that Woodward should be tried for murder.
Woodward, 21, has previously pleaded not guilty to the 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 Foothill Ranch, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles.
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 in a shallow grave in the park. 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 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.
Rackauckas declined to specify what materials were found in Woodward's phone, computer and social media accounts, but that they were racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic and homophobic.
"All of this revealed the dark side of Woodward's thoughts and intentions," he said.