Closing arguments in trial of man accused of kidnapping and murdering USC student, jury deliberations begin

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – The State of South Carolina and defense attorneys representing Nathaniel Rowland presented their closing arguments to jurors Tuesday.

Rowland is accused of kidnapping and murdering Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina student, in 2019. Police said she got into his car believing he was her rideshare driver after a night out with friends in the Five Points area. Her body was found in rural Clarendon County later that day investigators say.

Tuesday morning, Deputy Solicitor for the Fifth Judicial Circuit Daniel Goldberg spent more than an hour going over the evidence presented to the jury over the last week.

The prosecution showed jurors more than a hundred pieces of evidence and called over 30 witnesses ranging from Josephson’s boyfriend, the turkey hunter who found her body, law enforcement and women who were dating Rowland at the time.

The State of South Carolina said Rowland killed Josephson alone. Goldberg told jurors, “He (Rowland) took her from Five Points. He took her life. And he took the time to try to erase all the evidence. To try to erase her.”

Defense attorneys said the evidence the State provided should not convince jurors, beyond a reasonable doubt, Rowland is guilty.

Attorney Tracy Pinnock reminded jurors no bruises or cuts were found on Rowland after he was arrested. She also pointed out Rowland’s DNA was never found on her body. She said a mixture of unidentified DNA was found under Josephson’s fingernails and on the alleged murder weapon.

Pinnock said because Rowland drove around in a car with blood in it and didn’t call police doesn’t mean he is guilty of her murder. He said the evidence doesn’t prove Rowland committed the crime.

She told jurors, “They created a narrative and he’s the villain in their narrative. For them (the State) he’s the easy answer. In this case, it’s the wrong answer.”

Jurors left the court room around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday to begin deliberations.

If Rowland is convicted he faces up to life in prison.

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