Jury Selection Begins In South Carolina ‘Fake Uber Driver’ Murder Trial

CHARLOTTE, NC – Jury selection continues Tuesday for the man accused of kidnapping and killing a former University of South Carolina Student.

Nathaniel Rowland made a surprise request on the first day of his trial. He asked for a new attorney.     Rowland is charged in the March 2019 death of Samantha Josephson.

Police say Josephson went out with friends and got separated from her group. Surveillance video shows her get into a car she thought was her Uber. Investigators say that car was being drive by Rowland, who was not an Uber driver.

Fourteen hours later, turkey hunters discovered her body in a field about 65 miles away. According to arrest warrants, she had been stabbed 30 times. Blood and her DNA were found in Rowland’s car.

Within months of her death, South Carolina elected leaders were taking steps to improve safety for both the riders and drivers.

“It’s obviously a very horrific incident,” said South Carolina State Representative Seth Rose.

He says he felt a deep connection to the murder of Samantha Josephson in 2019.

Rose went to school at South Carolina University. He got married and started a family nearby. And he now lives just blocks away from where Josephson was abducted.

“I wanted to do something to act. As a legislator, all you can do is legislate,” said Rose.

He sponsored a bill that was signed into law within two months of Josephson’s death.

The Samantha Josephson Ride sharing Safety Act made it a crime to Impersonate a ride share driver. It also requires the license number be displayed on the front of the ride share vehicle.

The legislation caught on in other states and in some cases the rules were made even tighter.

For instance, in North Carolina, Ride share drivers must exhibit an illuminated sign at night., which is something ride share lobbyists fought against in South Carolina.

Through it all, Rose says the greatest impact was the social shift in how drivers and customers interact.

“I think this brought a lot of awareness to the dangers of it. And both ride share drivers and customers alike are being more careful,” said Rose.

Josephson’s family started a foundation shortly after her death to raise awareness about the safety issues with ride sharing applications. It’s called #What’sMyName.

Josephson’s father declined to comment until the trial has concluded.