Blaze Bernstein's alleged killer told authorities he was kissed on lips

A man accused of stabbing a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student nearly two dozen times and then burying him in a grave at a California park reportedly told police his alleged victim made advances on him and kissed him on the lips.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, was arrested and detained Friday on suspicion of homicide after DNA evidence tied him to the death of Blaze Bernstein, a college sophomore, authorities said.

Bernstein was reportedly stabbed 20 times, although the police would not confirm how exactly the student was murdered. No weapon has been found.

On Jan. 2, Woodward picked up Bernstein, who was visiting his family in Lake Forest during winter break, and drove him to several places before ending up at a park. He went missing and it took nearly a week for authorities to find the body.

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Woodward told investigators earlier this month that Bernstein sexually pursued him, kissing him on the lips at a stop, prompting him to push the sophomore away, according to a 16-page search warrant affidavit obtained by the Orange County Register.

Investigators said in the affidavit that as Woodward was giving his version of the events, he clenched his jaw and his fists and said that “he wanted to tell Blaze to get off of him.”

Authorities said the suspect appeared nervous during the questioning, scratching his hands and dirt under his fingernails and avoided touching doors with his hands upon leaving the sheriff’s office building.

Court documents also show Bernstein may have indicated plans to sexually pursue Woodward as well. The two knew each other from high school, Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said.

The slain student texted two female friends about a June interaction with Woodward, saying he may “hit on me” and that “he made me promise not to tell anyone.”

During the questioning, the alleged killer also said that he walked into the park alone and waited for Bernstein for an hour before driving to see his girlfriend, but returned to the park hours later to look for him. Woodward could not remember his girlfriend’s name or where she lived, the newspaper reported.

The stabbing death shocked the local community of Lake Forest, 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Hundreds of people candlelight vigil to remember Bernstein. It was the first reported homicide in the community in the last four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report