COLUMBIA, S.C. — A murder trial is underway in South Carolina for a man accused of killing a 21-year-old college student who reportedly mistook his car for an Uber ride in March of 2019.
On Tuesday, both prosecutors and public defenders delivered their opening statements in the trial of Nathanial Rowland. He’s charged with the murder of Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina student from Robbinsville, New Jersey
"We believe that the simplest explanation is that Nathanial Rowland murdered Samantha Josephson," said prosecutor Byron Gipson.
Prosecutors claimed Josephson got into Rowland’s vehicle and she was trapped because the defendant had turned on the child locks in his backseat so the doors could only be opened from the outside, The Associated Press reports.
WACH reports that more than 100 stab wounds and cuts were found on Josephson’s body after it was dumped in Clarendon County, about 60 miles from Columbia.
Defense attorneys argued that DNA shows Rowland is not responsible for the brutal killing.
"Nathanial's DNA is not there but someone else’s is, multiple someones,” said Alicia Goode, public defender.
Along with opening statements, the court heard from multiple witnesses, including the victim’s boyfriend, Greg Corbishley, her roommate, Teagan Berry, and the Uber driver that was set to pick her up.
Berry recalled the night Josephson got into the vehicle that she thought was an Uber in the Five Points neighborhood in Columbia, WACH reports
"One of the last times I remember seeing her, she was over in the corner on her phone,” said Berry.
Corbishley told the court that he was tracking his girlfriend’s location using the Find My Friends app at about 2:30 a.m. the night of her killing and that he saw the car she was riding in headed in the opposite direction of her home.
"Her location stopped getting shared with me, which had never happened before in our relationship," said Corbishley.
The boyfriend also testified that he and Josephson’s roommates attempted to look for her.
The Uber driver that was set to pick Josephson up that night said he never saw the victim, so he canceled the ride.
"I waited. The cancel thing showed up. I think I circled like two or three times, but I never got in contact with her, never saw her. So, it said 'cancel ride' and I just hit cancel," he said.
The trial is continuing this week. If convicted, Rowland could face up to life in prison, the AP reports.