The killing of University of Pennsylvania pre-med student Blaze Bernstein in Lake Forest was “atrocious hate,” his mother said in her first prime-time television interview, which will air at 10 p.m. Saturday evening on CBS’ “48 Hours.”
“There were people congratulating this accused killer, for what he has done, killing my son,” Bernstein’s mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, told correspondent Tracy Smith. “This was atrocious hate.”
Smith examines the fatal stabbing of Bernstein and the investigation that led to his classmate at Orange County School for the Arts, Sam Lincoln Woodward, being charged with murder.
The broadcast also explores what influence a militant neo-Nazi hate group can have on a follower.
Bernstein’s father Gideon called “In The Name of Hate,” “perhaps one of the most important shows of the year.”
“We hope this can help make some sense of what is going on in this world,” the elder Bernstein wrote on the “BlazeItForward” Facebook page which supports “the movement to make the world a better place with one intentional kind act at a time.”
“48 Hours” also includes an interview with a former member of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division that may have fueled anger in Woodward.
“He killed a Jew,” the former Atomwaffen Division member, whose name was not given, told Smith. “Like, was there a party? No, but like, did people joke about it? Yeah. Everyone celebrated him.”
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas called Woodward “a hater.”
“He hates homosexuals,” Rackauckas told Smith. “He hates people who are Jewish. He hates people of all different kinds of categories who are not white.”
Bernstein’s mother told Smith what she will most miss about her son is “his quirky personality.”
“He was different,” she said.
Bernstein’s father, interviewed wearing a #BlazeItForward T-shirt, told Smith his son “liked to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.”
Woodward, 20, pleaded not guilty Friday to killing Bernstein in what prosecutors say was a hate crime because the victim was gay.
At his second arraignment following his preliminary hearing in September Woodward again denied sentencing enhancement allegations for a hate crime and the personal use of a deadly weapon.
Woodward has remained in custody on $5 million bail since his arrest on Jan. 12.
Bernstein, 19, went missing Jan. 2. His body was found Jan. 9 on the outskirts of Borrego Park in Lake Forest.