COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – A jury found Nathaniel Rowland guilty Tuesday of kidnapping and murdering University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson in 2019.
Rowland was sentenced to life in prison.
The State of South Carolina and defense attorneys representing Rowland presented their closing arguments to jurors Tuesday morning.
Police said Josephson got into Rowland’s car believing he was her rideshare driver after a night out with friends in the Five Points area of Columbia. Her body was found in rural Clarendon County later that day investigators say.
Tuesday morning, Deputy Solicitor for the Fifth Judicial Circuit Daniel Goldberg spent more than an hour going over the evidence presented to the jury over the last week.
The prosecution showed jurors more than a hundred pieces of evidence and called over 30 witnesses ranging from Josephson’s boyfriend, the turkey hunter who found her body, law enforcement and women who were dating Rowland at the time.
The State of South Carolina said Rowland killed Josephson alone. Goldberg told jurors, “He (Rowland) took her from Five Points. He took her life. And he took the time to try to erase all the evidence. To try to erase her.
Defense attorneys said the evidence the State provided should not convince jurors, beyond a reasonable doubt, Rowland is guilty.
Attorney Tracy Pinnock reminded jurors no bruises or cuts were found on Rowland after he was arrested. She also pointed out Rowland’s DNA was never found on her body. She said a mixture of unidentified male DNA was found under Josephson’s fingernails and on the alleged murder weapon.
Pinnock said because Rowland drove around in a car with blood in it and didn’t call police doesn’t mean he is guilty of her murder. She said the evidence doesn’t prove Rowland committed the crime.
She told jurors, “They created a narrative and he’s the villain in their narrative. For them (the State) he’s the easy answer. In this case, it’s the wrong answer.”
Jurors left the court room around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday to begin deliberations.
The jury returned a guilty verdict on all three charges around 3:00 p.m.
Editor’s note: The previous Associated Press story has been replaced with this story with the most up-to-date information.