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Report: Suspect In Killing Of Blaze Bernstein Belonged To Neo-Nazi Group

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A 20-year-old Newport Beach man who was charged with the stabbing death of a University of Pennsylvania student from Lake Forest belonged to a neo-Nazi group, according to a report published Friday in ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news site.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward is accused of killing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, who was last seen by Woodward late the night of Jan. 2 and was found dead one week later in a shallow grave at Borrego Park.

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Woodward remains jailed without bail until his arraignment on the murder charge, scheduled for Feb. 2. The charge against him includes a sentencing enhancement allegation that he used a knife in the killing.

According to ProPublica, three people who knew Woodward told the website he was part of the Atomwaffen Division, an armed fascist organization that aims to overthrow the government through guerrilla tactics and terrorism.

Atomwaffen Division has been linked to four other murders and a bomb plot over the past eight months, according to ProPublica.

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Bernstein's mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, told the Los Angeles Times that she worried about her son becoming a target.

"I'm concerned about the fact that he is Jewish. I'm concerned with the fact that he is gay or the fact that he is small," she said. "I was concerned for his safety always. I was concerned sending him out into the big world. But at some point you have to let go and they leave the nest and fly. I couldn't protect him from everything."

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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