Nathaniel Rowland is said to have stabbed and cut the 21-year-old college student over 100 times before throwing her body in a field in Clarendon County, about 65 miles away, with injuries to her head, neck, face, chest, and neck. upper body, leg and foot.
The accused appeared in court on Tuesday, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Prosecutors have presented evidence and testimony which they say includes surveillance camera footage of the student entering Mr. Rowland’s black Chevrolet Impala outside the Five Points bar in Columbia.
The prosecution also said they have a witness who saw the accused clean a blade after the murder.
Byron Gipson, a lawyer for the Fifth Circuit, told jurors that surveillance cameras saw the 24-year-old driver circling the block several times before picking up Josephson.
“As she stood there waiting for this Uber, his eyes were firmly fixed on her,” he said according to NBC. “It is these intentional, willful, heinous, cruel and malicious acts that Nathaniel David Rowland has been charged with for the kidnapping of Samantha Josephson. He has been charged with the murder of Samantha Josephson.
“And he was charged with possession of a weapon as a result of a violent crime. And when the time comes, we will ask you to return guilty verdicts on each of these counts, ”Gipson said in his opening statement.
Mr Rowland’s public defender Alicia Goode told the court that none of the DNA evidence collected from the victim matches the accused.
“Zero. It’s the amount of DNA on Samantha Josephson’s body that matches Nathaniel’s, ”she said. “Zero. It’s not on her clothes, not under her torn and torn fingernails, it’s not on her ankles.
Mr Rowland could face life in prison without parole if convicted of the murder. He has been incarcerated in the Richland County Jail since his arrest for murder and kidnapping in 2019.
According to media reports, he tried to flee the scene but was apprehended by officers after a short chase.
At the time, police said the victim’s blood, along with his cell phone and cleaning supplies, was found inside his car. Child safety locks were also activated, which would make it difficult for the political science principal to open the car from the inside.
The incident gained national attention in 2019 and resulted in some changes to ridesharing apps, including more visible license plate displays.