Nathaniel Rowland was found guilty by a jury in the kidnapping and murder of Samantha Josephson.
Rowland was arrested in back in May of 2019, shortly after locals of New Zion found Josephsons body in the Black Bottom community.
About 120 times. That was the testimony of how many times Samantha Josephson was stabbed in March of 2019 after she mistakenly got into the car with Nathanial Rowland from Clarendon County thinking it was her Uber ride.
Surveillance video from Five Points shows a black Chevrolet Impala was circling the block before parking at a curb outside the Bird Dog bar where Josephson was waiting alone on her Uber ride. Josephson’s body was found on Black Bottom Road the day after she went missing in Clarendon County by a group of hunters, just two miles from Rowland’s home.
Twenty-four-year-old Nathanial Rowland from New Zion was arrested hours after Josephson’s body was found. During the days of testimony, it was discovered that Josephson’s and Rowland’s phones both tracked together during the early morning hours of March 2019. Josephson’s blood, hair, and fingerprints were found in Rowland’s car.
Other video evidence showed someone trying to use Josephson’s debit card trying to withdraw money from Josephson’s account multiple times, there was also video evidence of someone trying to sell her cell phone and 5th Circuit Solicitor Bryan Gipson claimed the person was Rowland.
Multiple cleaning products and bloody clothes were found in a garbage bin behind the home of Rowland’s friend that Rowland was supposed to pick up. The friend noticed blood in Rowland’s car that morning when he picked her up for work. Gipson also stated in court that an A blade was found in the same garbage bin and was consistent with the wounds that Josephson sustained.
Rowland initially ran from Columbia Law Enforcement when he was stopped in Five Points the same day her body was discovered, he was driving the black Impala that was seen on the surveillance footage.
The jury racially mixed jury took less than two hours to deliberate. Rowland was found guilty of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, murder, and kidnapping. Josephson’s mother, father, sister, boyfriend, and two Columbia officers testified during the sentencing for Life in prison.
Rowland’s mother then spoke on her son’s behalf, she claimed his innocence and said she knows her son did not commit the murder because she raised him right.
“I’m not listening to any claim of what he did not do, he has been found guilty and you are not a witness,” said Judge Clifton Newman. Clearly losing his patients with public defender Tracy Pinnock as she spoke during the sentencing phase on behalf of Rowland stating that his family supports him and believes in his innocence claiming that “he does not have a violent bone in his body.” Rowlands father also spoke on his behalf saying he never saw any bad bone in his blood, “I don’t know what happened but I know deep down in my heart that this young man didn’t do it, I am so sorry for Ms. Josephson’s family but I pray and hope that you will be as lenient as possible.”
The judge then spoke.
“Mr. Rowland in my time on the bench I have presided over many murder trials that typically involve shootings” began Newman. “This is the first time however I have preceded over a case where a victim was stabbed over 120 times, last case I participated in where a victim was stabbed and tortured ended with the jury imposing the death penalty. I also hear a lot of mothers tell me how good a child their child is. Unfortunately, I have to tell a lot of mothers and fathers that their child was a good child but that is when they were a child.”
Rowland was given the chance to speak stating “Your honor I know I am innocent but I guess what I know and say really doesn’t matter. I wish the state had done better finding the right person instead of detaining me” said Rowland.
“The evidence in this case [...] is so overwhelming. Law Enforcement, in this case, did the best job that I have seen over the last 30 or 40 years” said Judge Newman. “There were a thousand roads, all roads led to you. There were a thousand trails, all trails led to you. I have dealt with the heartless and you fall into that category. To whoever asked for leniency – that is not part of my DNA.”
The Judge told Rowland he had the ability to have chosen a different course and he did not.
“Sentencing, in this case, is not difficult, in this case, it is easy”, then Judge Newman sentenced Rowland to life.
Josephson was a senior at The University of South Carolina and was two months short of graduating when she was murdered. Josephson had been accepted to Law School and was from New Jersey.