Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of Student who Mistook His Car for Uber
July 29, 2021
Columbia –A Richland County jury found Nathaniel Rowland, age 27, guilty of murder, kidnapping, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. The case began with jury selections Monday, July 19, 2021 and concluded Tuesday July 27th. The Honorable Clifton Newman sentenced Nathaniel Rowland to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Jurors heard testimony that in the early morning hours of March 29, 2019, the defendant kidnapped and murdered Samantha Josephson, age 21. Surveillance video showed the victim stepping into the defendant’s black Chevrolet Impala as she mistook it to be her Uber driver. Her body was discovered in a wooded area the next day by turkey hunters in Clarendon County, 66 miles away from Columbia. She was stabbed over 100 times with a multi-purpose knife belonging to the defendant. The victim’s blood was found on the tool.
An ex-girlfriend testified to seeing Rowland clean up blood from inside of his car. Police searched the home and collected a large amount of evidence from a trash can outside of the home as well as the murder weapon. Both Rowland and Josephson’s DNA were found on the knife. Video surveillance of the car, phone records, and other forensic evidence were also obtained during the investigation. Rowland was arrested and charged by the Columbia Police Department during a traffic stop in Five Points. Samantha Josephson was a student in her last semester at the University of South Carolina with plans to attend law school after graduation.
Deputy Solicitor Daniel Goldberg was the Chief Prosecutor on the case with assistance of Solicitor Byron Gipson, Deputy Circuit Solicitor April Sampson, and Assistant Solicitor Amanda Gatson.