Is a plea deal justice for Lauren McCluskey?

Jun 4, 2019, 1:29 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2019, 2:48 pm
The detective criticized for how she handled the Lauren McCluskey case has been fired, accused of not acting fast enough on another young woman's domestic violence complaint. Photo of Lauren McCluskey provided by the University of Utah

Lauren McCluskey died at the hands of someone who could not legally possess a gun.

McCluskey’s alleged killer, Melvin Rowland, could not pass a background check to buy a gun. But he knew people who could. Prosecutors say Nathan Daniel Vogel and Sarah Emily Lady got the gun for him.

According to court documents, Lady lied to bypass the required waiting period because Vogel wasn’t sure he could pass the background check.

Rowland reportedly paid Vogel $400 for it.

Illegal possession

Under Utah law, Rowland could not possess a gun because he was a felon. Rowland pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony on plea deal when was 21. He was initially charged with a first-degree felony for raping a minor.

Under Utah law, a restricted person such as a felon cannot possess a gun.

Under federal law, buying a gun with the intent of giving it to someone is illegal. It is known as a straw purchase.

Vogel and Lady appear to have broken these laws, talk show hosts Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic agree.

But this is not why Vogel and Lady have been convicted.

Lies that led to murder

On Tuesday’s Dave and Dujanovic show, Noriega and Dujanovic wanted to know whether a guilty plea in a case of lying by the acquaintances of a murder suspect really amounts to justice served for the family of Lauren McCluskey.

This happened in court on Monday. Court documents state that 21-year-old Nathan Daniel Vogel and 24-year-old Sarah Emily Lady accepted a guilty plea regarding the case of McCluskey’s murder. They pleaded guilty in court to making false statements.

Noriega and Dujanovic ask: can anyone truly be held accountable for Lauren McCluskey’s tragic and preventable death?

Nathan Vogel did not lawfully possess the gun, says John Huber, US Attorney for Utah, who joined the Dave and Dujanovic show to discuss pursuing those connected to McCluskey’s death.

Without the illegally possessed gun, Lauren McCluskey would have been safer, Huber suggests.

Noriega asked: If the murderer is dead, who is the next person we can hold accountable?

In exchange for the guilty plea, Vogel received just 36 months probation — paying a price, Noriega says, but not nearly enough of a price.

Dujanovic says Vogel should serve at least six months or a year in jail, noting that since McCluskey paid the ultimate price, a longer sentence is the only way to secure justice for her family.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

savings system right on the money...
Mark Jones

Economists are worried of a recession in 2023, financial expert weighs in

Many economists are fearing a recession in 2023 despite the U.S. economy ending last year better than expected.
1 day ago
The Utah Education Association is opposed to H. B. 215. The UEA says school choice and a teacher pa...
Devin Oldroyd

School choice bill is “limiting” public schools, UEA president says

Utah Education Association president Renee Pinkney says the controversial school choice bill is "weakening" and "limiting" public schools.
1 day ago
Spanish Fork High School in Spanish Fork is pictured on Friday March 12, 2021. Students at Spanish ...
Mark Jones

Concurrent enrollment provides students with options in Nebo School District

Programs such as concurrent enrollment can give high school students and their parents options.
1 day ago
artificial intelligence banjo...
Curt Gresseth

ChatGPT: Plagiarism super-tool for students or AI brainstorming generator?

Will the future of AI be the interactive chatbot ChatGPT helping cheaters ace exams and tests or a new tool to assist all students in learning?
1 day ago
Elizabeth Weiler

UTA board looks at FrontRunner expansion in Utah County

Utah County is the fastest growing county in the state so UTA is considering a number of expansions to their current FrontRunner and bus lines. 
1 day ago
Lehi City officials have closed a portion of westbound 1500 North to repair a large sinkhole. On it...
Simone Seikaly

Large sinkhole shuts down portion of westbound 1500 North in Lehi

Lehi City officials said the sinkhole formed on 1500 North due to a water leak.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
Is a plea deal justice for Lauren McCluskey?