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Jail Life For Man Who Killed A South Carolina Student Mistaken His Car For Uber

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

 

Jail Life For Man Who Killed A South Carolina Student Mistaken His Car For Uber


A jury convicted a man in the murder of a South Carolina college student she mistakenly mistook for her Uber driver during a night out two years ago and a judge sentenced him to life in prison moments later.


Nathaniel David Rowland was found guilty of the murder and kidnapping of Samantha Josephson, as well as possession of a weapon during a violent crime Tuesday. The jury returned a unanimous verdict after two hours of deliberation, according to NBC affiliate WIS.


The sentencing was decided by Circuit Judge Clifton Newman immediately after Rowland's conviction on Tuesday.


"To whoever asked me to indulge," Newton said, "that's not part of my DNA." Roland was sentenced to life imprisonment.


Roland was allowed to speak during sentencing proceedings as he maintained his innocence.


"But I think what I know and what I think doesn't really matter," Roland said. "I wish the state had done more to find out who the actual person was rather than arrest me and prove my guilt."


Defendant Nathaniel Rowland speaks with his attorney, Alicia Goode, during his trial in Richland County Courthouse on July 20, 2021, in Columbia, South Carolina (Tracy Glantz/State via AP)

Defendant Nathaniel Rowland speaks with his attorney, Alicia Goode, during his trial in Richland County Courthouse on July 20, 2021, in Columbia, South Carolina (Tracy Glantz/State via AP)

Newton described Roland as "heartless" and called it "the most severe murder" he had ever seen in court. The judge added that all avenues of evidence point to Roland and that he is satisfied with the prosecution's presentation in court.


“There are a thousand paths that each lead you,” Newton said. “Every piece of evidence, every shred of evidence—not just beyond a reasonable doubt, but as the highest level required by law—all points to your guilt.”


Josephson, 21, was out with her friends in Columbia, South Carolina, in 2019 when the wrong car accidentally got in and got lost. Her roommates, who went out with her that night but were separated, filed a missing person report with Columbia Police after they were unable to reach her the following afternoon.


She was found dead by two hunters in a wooded area off a dirt road in Clarendon County, about 65 miles from Columbia, with cuts to her head, neck, face, upper body, legs and foot.


Born in New Jersey, Josephson was only months shy of graduating with a degree in political science from the University of South Carolina and plans to further her education by attending law school.


Prosecutors at the trial argued last week that Roland "has fixed his eyes too hard on Samantha Josephson" as she left the Bird Dog Lounge alone to order her home in an Uber.


Fifth Circuit Attorney Byron Gibson told jurors that a security video, cellphone tracking data, murder weapon and other incriminating evidence that would lead to a conviction will be shown.


"It is these premeditated, premeditated, outrageous, cruel and malicious acts that have charged Nathaniel David Rowland with the kidnapping of Samantha Josephson," Gibson said.


Josephson's blood and mobile phone were found in Roland's car, a black Chevrolet Impala, officials said. Investigators believe that after she accidentally entered the car, Josephson was unable to escape because Roland's child safety locks were activated.


Roland's defense attorney, Tracy Pinnock, argued that crime scene investigators had not found any DNA evidence linking Roland to the murder.


“Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to hear that number again, and that number is zero,” Pinnock said. "This is the amount of DNA on Samantha Josephson's body that matches Nathaniel Rowland. zero. Not on her clothes. Not under her torn nails. It's not on her ankles."

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