Two Indicted In Connection To Purchase Of McCluskey Murder Weapon
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Nearly five months after the killing of Lauren McCluskey, an unsealed indictment shows that two people have been charged with firearm violation and conspiracy in connection with straw purchase of the gun used in the murder.
“They lied. It’s called a straw purchase. One person recruits another one with a clean record to buy a firearm and then hand it off as soon as they leave the gun store,” U.S Attorney John Huber said.
Sarah Emily Lady, age 24, of Mapleton and Nathan Daniel Vogel, age 21, of Millcreek are named in the indictment as the two who allegedly made false statements to deceive a firearms dealer while purchasing the gun.
— Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) March 13, 2019
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, John Huber, The firearm in question “remained in the possession of one of the defendants until Oct. 17, 2018, when he loaned it to an acquaintance, identified in the indictment as M.S.R. Five days later, Melvin Rowland used the Beretta to kill University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey.”
The indictment does not allege Lady and Vogel were responsible for McCluskey’s murder.
“Lauren McCluskey’s death was tragic and heartbreaking. We join so many others in offering our condolences to her family and friends,” Huber said today. “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.”
Jill McCluskey, Lauren’s mother, released a statement after news of the indictments broke.
“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.”
While the two aren’t being called responsible for McCluskey’s killing, Huber said if they had followed the law —McCluskey would not have been killed that day with that weapon.
“The laws are there for a reason. I can say with some confidence that if these people had obeyed federal law, this firearm would not have been used to take Lauren McCluskey’s life,” he said.
Lady was arrested Tuesday in Utah and entered a plea of not guilt the following morning in court. She was subsequently released and a trial date is set for May 20th of this year.
An arrest warrant for Vogel is pending, as of Wednesday afternoon.
KSL TV’s Andrew Adams contributed to this report.