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On January 25th Sam Woodward appeared in a pre-trial on a charge for murdering former Penn student Blaze Bernstein. (Photo from Orange County Sheriff's Department // Twitter)

Samuel Woodward, the man charged with murdering former Penn student Blaze Bernstein, appeared in a pretrial hearing on Jan. 25 in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif. 

While Woodward appeared in court, the judged scheduled a subsequent pretrial hearing on Aug. 2 — a common step in a homicide case, a representative of the Orange County District Attorney's Public Affairs Unit told The Daily Pennsylvanian on Jan. 28.

Bernstein, a Penn sophomore, went missing while home in California for winter break in January 2018. Days after discovering his body in a local park, police arrested Woodward, a former high school classmate, in connection to the murder.

Prosecutors have charged Woodward with Bernstein's murder. The district attorney also filed hate crime charges accusing Woodward of killing Bernstein because Bernstein was gay.

In November 2018, a judge ordered Woodward be held without bail, which was originally set to $5 million. The judge's move came at the request of prosecutors, who motioned to increase bail because of the hate crime enhancement a few months earlier.

During a preliminary hearing in September 2018, prosecutors presented evidence including DNA results from blood stains on Woodward's belongings and a slew of homophobic content on Woodward's cell phone, allegedly linking Woodward to the crime.

Woodward is being held in jail without bail awaiting trial. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison without parole.