A murder trial is currently underway following the tragic death of Samantha Josephson. The 21-year-old's body was found with over 100 violent stab wounds in a remote field, after she mistakenly got into a man's car thinking it was an Uber she had ordered. Nathaniel Rowland, 24, the accused, has denied any wrongdoing.
The political science student was on a course at the University of South Carolina in the United States, and had been at a local bar with friends on the night she went missing. The court has now heard how Josephson left the venue in Columbia, South Carolina, at around 2am on 29 March 2019, after losing her roommates.
CCTV footage shows her getting into the back of a black Chevrolet Impala, which also caught circling the block multiple times before encountering Josephson. Sadly, the Chevrolet wasn't Josephson's Uber, and the real driver turned up just minutes afterwards. After a short wait, he cancelled the ride assuming she was a no-show.
As reported by The Independent, during the opening of the trial on Tuesday (20 July), Fifth Circuit Solicitor Byron Gipson said that the prosecution have mobile phone tracking data that indicates Nathaniel Rowland was driving the car that Josephson entered instead. He has pleaded 'not guilty' to the charges of kidnapping, murder and weapon possession.
The prosecution added that they've also found links to Rowland and a "knife-bladed tool" that appears to match the heinous injuries found on Josephson's body. "[She was] stabbed multiple times, throughout her feet, throughout her torso, throughout her face, her neck, her hands," Gipson told the court, adding that child safety locks were found activated in the car. He also discussed there being a witness who claims to have seen Rowland cleaning a blade.
The authorities were initially alerted to Josephson's disappearance after friends discovered she hadn't made it back to her dormitory. They began a search and just hours later, her body was found in a remote area in Claredon County (some 65 miles away from where it's alleged she first got into the car driven by Rowland).
Rowland's defence team told the jury that none of the DNA evidence collected from Josephson matches Rowland. "Zero. That’s the amount of DNA on Samantha Josephson’s body that matches Nathaniel's," public defender Alicia Goode said to the court. "Zero. It’s not on her clothing, not under her ripped and torn fingernails, it’s not on her ankles."
If convicted of the murder, Rowland faces life in prison without parole.
Samantha's dad, Seymour Josephson, previously paid tribute to his daughter in a Facebook post. The grieving father wrote: "It is with tremendous sadness and of a broken heart that I post this... Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be forgotten."
"I will miss and love my baby girl for the rest of life," Seymour added.
In a statement following the murder, Josephson's university president Harris Pastides said: "It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write these words this morning. Our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death."
Our thoughts are with Samantha Josephson's family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.
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