University to award posthumous degree to student, 21, who was murdered after she mistook her killer's car for an Uber
21-year-old Samantha Josephson was just weeks away from completing her political science degree at the university before she was murdered.
The University of South Carolina will award a posthumous degree to a student who was killed last month after she mistook her killer's car for her Uber.
According to ABC4, 21-year-old Samantha Josephson was just weeks away from graduating with her political science degree at the time, and USC Director of Public Relations Jeff Stensland confirmed that the 21-year-old would still be honored during a commencement ceremony in May.
USC President Harris Pastides said Josephson's parents would be coming to the ceremony, which was supposed to be her graduation, and that she was accepted into Drexel University's law school and even awarded a full ride.
Josephson was murdered on March 29 after she got separated from her friends in Columbia's Five Points bar district and called an Uber to take her home, only to then mistakenly get into the black Chevrolet Impala driven by 21-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland.
Police said Rowland activated the child locks in his backseat so the doors could only be opened from the outside to trap Josephson. He then attacked her, inflicting numerous wounds to her head, neck, face, upper body, leg, and foot. After killing her, Rowland dumped her body in the woods of a dirt road in Clarendon County about 65 miles away from the original pick up location. Her body was found by hunters just hours after it was dumped, despite authorities saying it was left in an area "very difficult to get to unless you knew how to get there."
Detectives linked Rowland with the murder and found Josephson's blood in the trunk and inside his car. They also found her cellphone, bleach, window cleaner, and cleaning wipes. He has been charged with kidnapping and murder, with it possible that prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Hundreds of mourners packed Congregation Beth Chaim in West Windsor, New Jersey, on April 3 for her funeral. Speaking at the gathering, her cousin Seth Josephson said that the sadness "may wane in the future, but will always leave a hole in the hearts of (her) fun-loving, generous and kind parents and sister," adding that "they don't know and can't contemplate how they will think of the future."
The Daily Mail reported that, in the wake of Josephson's death, a bill called the Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act has been introduced in the South Carolina Legislature that will mandate that Uber and Lyft drivers have illuminated signs on their cars.
South Carolina State Representative Seth Rose, a co-sponsor of the bill, revealed that it will also require the Uber and Lyft drivers who have stopped working as a ridesharing driver to return these lights to the company.
The AP contributed to this report.