Man Who Loaned Gun To Killer Of Utah Student Sentenced

Sep 12, 2019, 5:44 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:02 pm

Lauren McCluskey was killed on the University of Utah campus on October 22, 2018 by Melvin Rowland....

Lauren McCluskey, who was killed on the University of Utah campus on October 22, 2018 by Melvin Rowland. (Photo: Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah)

(Photo: Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The man who loaned the gun used to kill college athlete Lauren McCluskey looked downcast and said he “shakes” when he thinks about her death Wednesday as he was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

“It’s extremely sad … I cried when I found out about (Lauren’s death),” Nathan Daniel Vogel, 22, said during Wednesday’s hearing in Salt Lake City.

In June, Vogel pleaded guilty to lying in his purchase of the firearm used to kill McCluskey.

McCluskey, 21, was fatally shot near her dorm at the University of Utah on Oct. 22, 2018, after she broke up with her boyfriend of a month, Melvin Rowland, 37, because he lied about his background and status as a sex offender.

Rowland killed himself after gunning down McCluskey as she returned from a night class, authorities said.

Vogel said he and Rowland were acquaintances who worked as security guards at a nightclub together.

Vogel acknowledged he didn’t know Rowland was a convicted felon and knew him under a different name.

“If there’s any fault to Nate, it’s that he’s too trusting. He trusted the wrong person, and that’s why he’s here,” said Nick Estevam, a friend of Vogel’s.

Rowland had approached Vogel about borrowing his gun last year in exchange for $200. He wanted to teach McCluskey how to shoot, Vogel said.

Vogel said he needed the money. So he agreed.

“I had told (Rowland) about my problems and stuff like that, he offered me $200, so he manipulated me using the guilt trip to use my weapon,” Vogel said, according to a police report.

Vogel possessed a gun he purchased with Sarah Emily Lady, 24, from an arms dealer in Salt Lake City.

Lady lied and purchased the gun for Vogel, who was nervous about passing a mandatory background check, prosecutors said.

The pair had only known each other for 11 days, but she thought they were an “item,” said Carlos Esqueda, a federal prosecutor.

Lady’s case is still pending. She is in a program where she’ll be supervised for 18 months, and if successful, the case could be dropped.

Vogel left the gun in a room for Rowland at the Little America Hotel and texted him to pick it up. A maid found the gun and marijuana in the room. Hotel security called Vogel and lectured him about the incident, but did not notify police, prosecutors said.

Still, Vogel said Rowland “talked him into giving him the gun back” and offered him another $200, the police report states.

Court documents show Vogel loaned the firearm to Rowland in mid-October. Rowland shot McCluskey only days later, the night he was supposed to return the gun.

Vogel texted Rowland throughout the day to get his weapon back, but Rowland said he and McCluskey were stuck on a trip in Moab, according to police reports. Vogel continued to text Rowland days after to get the gun back, but he stopped responding.

Vogel’s voice cracked as he recalled the “extremely disturbing” incident during the hearing. He had met McCluskey a few times, and the two got along well.

Looking back, Rowland’s actions seemed premeditated, Vogel said.

Right after learning McCluskey was killed, he contacted university police and told them how Rowland got the gun from him.

Esqueda said they considered Vogel’s family support, mental health struggles and clean criminal record when deciding on his sentence.

The lawyers on the case also consulted the McCluskey family several times throughout the process, and they agreed to the sentence.

“He did not cause the death of Lauren McCluskey, nor was he aware of Melvin Rowland’s intention to murder her,” Esqueda said. “But had he not purchased the firearm the way he did, perhaps … Ms. McCluskey could still be alive.”

Serious concerns about campus safety at the University of Utah have followed in the wake of McCluskey’s death.

Her parents sued the institution in June, saying officials refused to take responsibility for missing chances to prevent her death despite multiple reports to police.

McCluskey’s friends and parents had repeatedly reported Rowland to campus police before her death, citing concern about abusive behavior and conversations about guns.

Dale Brophy, the university police chief, is retiring months after his department came under fierce criticism for its handling of the case.

An independent review commissioned by the university found multiple missed warning signs before she was found shot in a car. But President Ruth Watkins has insisted there’s no reason to believe Rowland could have been stopped.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Sadie Bowler, co-founder and CEO of SadieB Personal Care is pictured with products from her company...

Logan Stefanich, KSL.com

University of Utah student’s personal care brand launches in Target stores

Sadie Bowler, a University of Utah student and co-founder of SadieB Personal Care, is celebrating the launch of her company's hair care products in 507 Target stores across the nation.

2 hours ago

State troopers respond to a crash on I-15 in Lehi on Feb. 27, 2024. (Karah Brackin, KSL TV)...

Josh Ellis

Slick roads lead to multiple crashes along I-15 in Lehi

Northbound I-15 was seeing heavy delays Tuesday morning as state troopers responded to multiple crashes near Thanksgiving Point.

5 hours ago

FILE: Brighton Ski Resort (Photo: Andrew Kooyman)...

Debbie Worthen

Snowboarder confronted by property owner with gun near Brighton Ski Resort

In Utah's backcountry, the weekend of backcountry snowboarding took a scary turn for Loren Richardson near Brighton Ski Resort.

10 hours ago

A woman is lucky to be alive after a nearly 2,000-pound moose crashed into her windshield Sunday ni...

Kiersten Nunez

Utah woman lucky to be alive after crash with moose

A woman is lucky to be alive after a nearly 2,000-pound moose crashed into her windshield Sunday night. 

12 hours ago

FILE: Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shoppi...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Utah family says their bank refuses to reimburse fraudulent charges

A Taylorsville family says a hacker drained thousands of dollars out of their bank accounts and left them overdrawn by tens of thousands more. They thought federal banking rules protected them, but they say their bank has refused to reimburse them for those losses.

13 hours ago

Many Utah families are struggling to find and pay for child care.(KSL TV)...

Daniel Woodruff

‘This is not sustainable’: How the child care crisis impacts Utah

It's a major concern for many Utah families – finding and paying for child care.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Man Who Loaned Gun To Killer Of Utah Student Sentenced