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Email Campaign Urges No Bail For OC Student's Suspected Killer

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Sam Woodward, the 20-year-old arrested in connection with the death of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, will be arraigned Wednesday, according to the Orange County District Attorney.

On the eve of one of the most highly anticipated court appearances in Orange County history, an email campaign has begun by parents in Newport Beach. They are worried that the accused Woodward could be freed on bail.

"I am deeply alarmed by the news that a perpetrator could be released back into my community," one anonymous person wrote to DA Tony Rackauckas.

The defendant lived with his parents and was arrested Friday during a traffic stop in Newport Beach.

The email to the DA also expressed concern about another Newport Beach man charged with murder who hasn't been seen since he posted bail. Peter Chadwick is accused of killing his wife at their home in Newport Coast. Chadwick has now vanished.

"Don't let this happen again or it's going to start to look like rich white males can get away with anything here in Newport."

Another mother emailed this to Rackauckas:

"The street where the perpetrator currently lives is populated by homes housing many kids and teens and is a regular hang out destination for kids...The safety of these kids would be of utmost importance..."

The Orange County Superior Court bail schedule is as follows: If someone is charged with Murder, Special Circumstances there is no bail; for Voluntary Manslaughter bail is $100,000. For all other murders bail is $1,000,000.

These days with a bail bond people are expected to post 7 to 8 percent of the prescribed bail, the rest is posted as collateral.

New Details Emerge In Bernstein's Death

There was strong reaction Monday night from Foothill Ranch neighbors as new details emerged in the murder case of Bernstein, just hours before his private memorial. 


The parents of the 19-year-old said on the day they laid their son to rest, they are saddened by gruesome details that have been reported on how he was killed.

"Today should have been a day to honor Blaze," neighbor Rebecca Weiskittel said. "At the end of the day, Blaze was the victim and there was no reason to put any shadow of doubt in that."

The Orange County Register reported Monday night that in a possible act of rage, Woodward Blaze Bernstein's former high school classmate, stabbed him 20 times after he picked him up at his Foothill Ranch home on Jan. 2.

Detectives found Bernstein's blood on a sleeping bag in the back of Woodward's rental car, according to the Register.

Last summer Bernstein told two female friends about an interaction with Woodward. The Newport Beach man was arrested on suspicion of murder last Friday.

In one conversation, Bernstein wrote that Woodward was about to hit on him and was told not to tell anyone. "But I have texted everyone, uh oh," he wrote.  

The Register also reported Woodward told investigators that Bernstein kissed him on the lips and that he pushed Bernstein away.

As ribbons for Bernstein hang on a light post and rocks with his name pile up near a Borrego Park where Bernstein's body was found, few can believe this happened so close to home.

"It's just crazy how quick your life can go from good to bad," former fellow student Ryan Weiskittel said.

On Monday night parents Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein released the following statement, which read in part: "We are saddened to hear, on the day we laid our son to rest, that gruesome details of the cause of his death were published.  Our son was a beautiful gentle soul who we loved more than anything. We were proud of everything he did and who he was. He had nothing to hide."

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