Two charged with firearm violations in McCluskey murder

Mar 13, 2019, 3:03 PM | Updated: 7:01 pm
Lauren McCluskey...
Lauren McCluskey told the University of Utah police that she was being harassed by Rowland before she was shot and killed. (Photo courtesy of Jill McCluskey)
(Photo courtesy of Jill McCluskey)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two people are facing federal firearm charges in connection with the murder of a University of Utah track star, Lauren McCluskey.

The indictment, filed in federal court in Salt Lake City names Sarah Lady, 24, of Mapleton, Utah, and Nathan Vogel, 21, of Millcreek, Utah.

U.S. Attorney for Utah, John Huber, said the indictment does not mean Lady and Vogel are considered responsible for McCluskey’s shooting death in October.  “But I can say this,” said Huber, “Without this type of conduct that was alleged in the indictment, this particular handgun would not have been used to take Lauren’s life.”

The pair are accused of knowingly making “false and fictitious statements intended to deceive a firearms dealer” while purchasing a Beretta PX4 Storm .40-caliber handgun on Sept. 8, 2018.

The indictment alleges Lady answered “yes” on a form indicating the purchase of the gun was for herself, when she knew Vogel was the actual purchaser.

This type of a transaction, known as a straw purchase, is one of the most common ways criminals obtain weapons, according to the National Rifle Association.

According to court documents, prosecutors say Vogel asked Lady to purchase the weapon for him because he wanted it right away, and was concerned he would be subject to a background check and waiting period.  The indictment claims after purchasing the gun, Lady immediately gave the gun to Vogel, who kept the weapon until Oct. 17, 2018, when he loaned it to an acquaintance, identified in the court documents as M.S.R.

Five days later, police say Melvin Rowland used that gun to shoot and kill Lauren McCluskey.

“While we cannot change what happened that October night in Salt Lake City, we can say that without the conduct alleged in this indictment, this particular handgun would not have been used to take Lauren’s life,” Huber said. “Straw purchases are prohibited under federal law for a reason.”

Rowland was the subject of an hours-long manhunt before taking his own life inside a Salt Lake City church.

McCluskey’s mother, Jill McCluskey, gave a statement and praised the attorneys for pursuing charges.

“We applaud the U.S. Attorneys for pursuing charges against the individuals who lied and conspired to buy the gun that was used to kill our daughter.  Still we note that the University of Utah housing staff were informed that our daughter’s killer said he planned to bring the gun to campus, and they did nothing. We hope for additional accountability of the individuals who did not protect Lauren.” -Jill McCluskey

Today’s Top Stories


Tooele City announced its firework restrictions Sunday evening. Photo Credit: Tooele City's Faceboo...
Devin Oldroyd

Tooele City releases fireworks restrictions map

Tooele City announced its firework restrictions Sunday evening.
24 hours ago
Photo credit: UDOT...
Devin Oldroyd

Semi-truck rolls on I-80 at U.S.-40, Silver Creek Junction

What caused the semi-truck to roll is still under investigation at this time. All lanes in the area have been cleared and are operational.
24 hours ago
Image from the scene of the shooting on South Major street in Salt Lake City (Photo courtesy of SLC...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: SLCPD investigating party shooting that left one in critical condition

Police received multiple calls regarding shots fired near 1485 South Major Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday July 3, 2022. 
24 hours ago
The scene of the shooting at 900 S. 200 West (Photo courtesy of Adam Sotelo)...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: Shooting on TRAX platform leaves one dead, one injured

Police responded to reports of shots fired on a TRAX platform near 900 South and 200 West at around 10 p.m. on Saturday night.
24 hours ago
Man dies at flight show during his performance in shockwave jet truck....
Waverly Golden

Man dies during performance at Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show

Battle Creek Police Department, Federal Aviation Administration Officials, and the fire department are still investigating the accident. 
2 days ago
SUV Crashes into Famous Footwear in Sugar House....
Waverly Golden

Update: Vehicle crashes into Famous Footwear, leaving four injured

A crash at a Famous Footwear in Sugar House leaves four injured.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Two charged with firearm violations in McCluskey murder