Suspect accused of killing Samantha Josephson asks for new attorney during jury selection

Nathaniel Rowland was arrested the same day Josephson's body was found.
Nathaniel Rowland was arrested the same day Josephson's body was found.
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:30 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Jury selection began Monday in the trial of the man accused of kidnapping and killing former University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson.

Josephson disappeared from outside a bar in Five Points in the early morning hours of March 29, 2019. Her body was found hours later in a wooded area in Clarendon County.

Investigators said she was last seen getting into a car she believed was her ride-share. Surveillance video captured the moment.

When police found a car matching the one seen on camera the next day and pulled it over, they arrested Nathaniel Rowland.

RELATED STORY | TWO YEARS LATER: Revisiting the Samantha Josephson case

Investigators say they found Josephson’s blood and cellphone in the car with Rowland. He faces multiple charges, including murder.

Monday, Rowland surprised the court when he said he wanted to fire his public defenders and hire a private attorney, Debra Moore.

Judge Clifton Newman said Moore needs to be present in court so he can ask her what her intentions are. The judge said in court he has heard she will not defend Rowland. Moore is supposed to be in court Tuesday morning.

The judge said Rowland’s public defenders have worked on his case for two years and spent $10,000 on expert witnesses for his defense.

Jury selection went on as scheduled after that surprise interruption.

There are more than 600 potential jurors to go through.

Several potential jurors were dismissed due to concerns about COVID-19. Others were dismissed because they had heard about the case through media.

Jury selection reconvenes Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

When the trial itself begins, WIS will stream it live on, the WIS News app and the WIS Facebook page.

Rowland and his family have maintained his innocence.

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