After 28 months of sleepless nights, Samantha Josephson’s parents get justice for her murder
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Samantha Josephson should be getting ready for her last year of law school, living with her boyfriend in Pennsylvania, and calling her father late at night to discuss the news of the day.
But those plans and dreams that Sami’s family still carries with them died with her in the back of Nathaniel Rowland’s black Chevy Impala.
On Tuesday, Rowland was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of kidnapping and murdering 21-year-old University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson in March 2019.
According to the prosecutors, Josephson got into Rowland’s car in the Five Points area of Columbia thinking it was her Uber. Once in the car, Josephson was locked in the back seat and stabbed to death more than 100 times.
The image of Samantha fighting for her life has haunted her parents for the past 28 months.
“Her dream was my dream and her death was my death,” Samantha’s mom Marci Josephson told the judge. “I close my eyes and I feel what she endured at [Rowland’s} hands 120 times. Over and over and over, fighting for her life, locked in his car.”
No longer able to pray for her daughter’s future, she prays Sami had a moment of peace before she died.
“I pray that when Sami closed her eyes she thought of beautiful things and his evil face was not the last thing she saw before she took her last breath,” she said.
For Sami’s father, the thought of his daughter being murdered has almost been too much to bear these past two years.
“Do I tell you that I contemplated suicide several times over the past 28 months?” Seymour Josephson asked the court. “To me the monster has stolen that bright light..this enthusiasm for life out of me. I try to stop having these thoughts or desires only because I’m afraid of what this would ultimately do to Sydney and Marci.”
Seymour Josephson told the court he still can’t look at pictures of his late daughter because those images are now tainted with thoughts of Sami struggling for her life, pressing her bloody foot against Rowland’s car window.
“I still to this day can’t believe she is gone. I keep waiting for her to walk through the door saying “hey” only the way she does,” he said.
After listening to statements from Samantha’s father, mother, sister, and boyfriend, Nathaniel Rowland’s parents said they understood Josephson’s pain.
“I don’t know what happened but I know deep down in my heart that this young man didn’t do this,” Nathaniel Rowland’s father Henry said about his son.
Nathaniel Rowland’s mother, Laretta, went back and forth with the judge for a moment before Nathaniel was sentenced to life in prison, confident her son is innocent.
“Now I know, as a mother, and a mother knows her child... I know my son didn’t do it,” she said.
The judge noted Rowland’s parents’ pain, but called his choice to sentence Rowland to life “an easy one.”
“There is no perfect crime...your whole 24 hours was recreated almost minute by minute mile by mile, digit by digit that’s led you here and now you’ve been found guilty,” Judge Newman said.
However, before adjourning, the judge turned to one of the jurors, a law student, and pointed out that one of the people who helped convict Samantha Josephson’s murderer is getting an education she will never get.
“An opportunity that sadly Samantha will not have the opportunity to experience,” he said.
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