Man jailed for life after murdering student who mistook him for her Uber driver

A man who murdered a student who thought he was her uber driver has been jailed for life.

It took just over an hour for a jury in the US state of South Carolina to convict Nathaniel Rowland of abducting and murdering Samantha Josephson.

The court heard how the 21-year-old woman from New Jersey had mistakenly got in his car believing he was the driver she'd booked to get home from a drunken night out in March 2019.

Once she was inside the vehicle, Rowland turned on the child locks, effectively trapping his victim.

Her body was found covered with 120 stab wounds, cuts and other injuries, dumped in woodland about 65 miles from the city.

Forensic experts had linked Ms Josephson's blood to the interior of Rowland's car and to a knife with two blades. DNA from Rowland's fingernails also matched the victim.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman said: "She obviously put up an amazing fight against you and left a sufficient trial for the jury to see what you did."

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During opening statements, the prosecutors said the 21-year-old woman from New Jersey suffered "heinous, cruel and malicious acts" when she was killed.

According to the New York Post, jurors were shown also security videos and phone records that connected 27-year-old Rowland to the death.

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Prosecutor Byron Gipson reportedly told the court: "It’s those intentional deliberate, heinous, cruel and malicious acts that Nathaniel David Rowland has been indicted for kidnapping Samantha Josephson.

"He’s been indicted for murdering Samantha Josephson. And he’s been indicted for possession of a weapon from the commission of a violent crime.

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"And at the appropriate time, we’ll ask that you return verdicts on guilty on each one of those counts."

Rowland did not testify and his lawyers called no witnesses but they argued that, while Ms Josephson appeared to have fought him, none of his DNA was found on her body and he had no visible injuries from a fight when he was arrested.

The crime hit national headlines at the time, leading Uber to require all drivers to display IDs and check passengers' names before they travel.

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