A man accused of a heinous potential hate crime has just been revealed to be a member of a notorious neo-Nazi group.
Samuel Woodward of Orange County, California is accused of the murder of a 19 year-old gay Jewish University of Pennsylvania student. Blaze Bernstein went missing while visiting his family during winter break.
Woodward was confirmed to be an avowed member of and to have trained with Atomwaffen Division, an armed Fascist group professing to work towards the overthrow of the U.S. government. The group heralds Charles Manson and Hitler as heroes.
The group is one of the most dangerous to emerge from the White Nationalist/White Supremacist movement that has been gaining momentum especially since the election of President Trump. The group’s commitment to violence is extreme.
Bernstein’s body was found in an Orange County park with more than 20 stab wounds. The two men went to high school together.
Woodward trained with Atomwaffen Division in Texas shortly after joining in 2016. A friend and former member of the group confirmed that Woodward trained in hand-to-hand combat, survival skills, and armed combat.
ProPublica accessed Woodward’s social media profiles, where he openly professed to identify with the “national socialist” and Nazi movements.
Woodward claims that Bernstein tried to kiss him in the park, which is what he told police according to a sealed affidavit ProPublica sourced from the Orange County Register.
Groups like Atomwaffen Division have increased activity and membership substantially since last summer’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.