Nathaniel Rowland Sentenced to Life in Prison the Murder of Robbinsville, NJ’s Samantha Josephson
Nathaniel Rowland has been sentenced to life in prison, after he was found guilty in the kidnapping and murder of Robbinsville, NJ's Samantha Josephson.
The verdict was handed down by Judge Clifton Newman just after 4 pm on Tuesday. The sentencing came about an hour after the jury reached a verdict in the case.
"This is the most severe murder that I have been a witness to — as far as presiding in court or participating in as a lawyer," Judge Newman said.
The trial lasted one week in Columbia, South Carolina, and the jury deliberated for approximately one hour before they found Rowland guilty on three charges: murder, kidnapping, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Josephson was brutally murdered just weeks before her graduation from the University of South Carolina in March 2019. Josephson had been accepted to Drexel Law School in Philadelphia, where she expected to begin classes later that fall.
Sami's Family Pleaded With the Judge for Strict Sentencing
Sami's family — her mother, father and sister —addressed the court following the verdict to appeal for the maximum sentence against Rowland.
"The loss of Sammi is beyond words," Samantha's mother Marci Josephson said. "(Rowland) cut out a piece of me. I will forever be broken."
Sammi's father, Seymour Josephson, spoke of how her murder has haunted him and his family for more than 28 months.
Additionally, Columbia South Carolina's Police Chief W.H. "Skip" Holbrook, addressed the court during the sentencing saying he had never experienced a more heinous act.
Inside This Week's Trial
The state brought forward more than two dozen witnesses who alleged that Nathaniel Rowland pretended to be an Uber driver and kidnapped the 21-year-old University of South Carolina college student, who originally hailed from Mercer County.
The state's case alleged that Rowland drove the victim nearly 60 miles away stabbed her more than 100 times in the face, ear, head, neck, arm, back, leg, and feet. They say her DNA was found in the suspect's vehicle.
Rowland's defense team (a public defender) noted that Rowland's DNA was not found on Josephson's body. They alleged that police jumped to conclusions in March 2019.
Following her death, Samantha's family has launched the "What's My Name" foundation, which has aimed to push for ride share safety for all including a call for all riders to ask their drivers "what's my name" before they enter a ride share vehicle.