Shortly before his sentencing, a jury determined that Nathaniel Rowland is guilty of stabbing Samantha Josephson to death

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Samantha Lee Josephson
Samantha Josephson
| Credit: Gofundme

Jurors have convicted Nathaniel Rowland of murdering Samantha Josephson, the New Jersey woman and University of South Carolina student who entered his car in late March of 2019, mistaking it for her Uber ride.

The jury determined the 27-year-old killed Josephson, 21, by stabbing her 120 times. In addition to murder, Rowland was also convicted of kidnapping, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Shortly after the conviction, Judge Clifton Newman called Rowland "heartless" and sentenced him to life in prison, adding that the decision for him was "easy."

"I know I'm innocent, but I guess what I know and what I think doesn't really matter," Rowland said ahead of his sentencing. "I just wish the state would have done more in finding out who the actual person was instead of being satisfied with detaining me and proving my guilt."

Josephson, 21, was seen leaving a bar in Columbia, S.C., in the early morning hours of March 29, 2019. Authorities previously released startling surveillance video showing the tragic moment she stepped inside her killer's car after mistaking it for her Uber.

She was later found dead by hunters in a remote area of Clarendon County — about 65 miles away from where police believe she got into a black Chevy Impala driven by Rowland, thinking it was her ride home.

At trial, Rowland's ex testified that she had seen blood in the back of his vehicle. She also recalled seeing him clean the car with bleach, and later saw him cleaning a knife.

nathaniel-rowland
Nathaniel Rowland
| Credit: Columbia Police Dept.

Prosecutors also called Dr. Thomas Beaver to the witness stand. Beaver, who handled Josephson's autopsy, said she had sustained several fatal wounds to the brain and neck when she was stabbed to death.

Beaver also noted Josephson lost a lot of blood in the fatal attack, making it hard for medical examiners to collect a sample from her body.

Josephson was weeks away from graduating with a degree in political science when she was killed. 

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She had planned to go to the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia upon her graduation.

Her death has inspired action from state lawmakers in South Carolina, who passed legislation soon after her killing requiring all ride-share vehicles to display an illuminated sign featuring their company's name. The legislation was subsequently passed into law.

The ride-share industry has also implemented changes, like clearer displays of driver license plates, following Josephson's death.