Two charged with federal crimes in purchase of gun used to kill U. student Lauren McCluskey

Posted at 2:59 PM, Mar 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 20:38:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Two people are now facing federal charges related to the purchase of the gun that was used to shoot and kill University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey.

In a federal indictment filed by Utah's U.S. Attorney John Huber and unsealed Wednesday afternoon, it was revealed that the man who lent Melvin Rowland the gun that was used to shoot McCluskey did not legally purchase the firearm.

"As soon as that tragedy happened and we understood the circumstances of it we wanted to find out the story of the gun," Huber said.

In the indictment, it states "Sarah Emily Lady and Nathan Daniel Vogel conspired and agreed to falsify ATF form 4473 in the acquisition and purchase of a Beretta PX4 Storm .40-caliber handgun," which is the same gun that was used to kill McCluskey.

"She signed the paperwork saying this is my gun. I want this gun. I’m purchasing it for me and we allege that was a lie. Immediately upon purchase she provided the gun to Mr. Vogel and then the story continues to its tragic end," Huber said.

The indictment alleges that "Lady made false and fictitious statements on ATF form 4473 in order to circumvent Vogel's background check and waiting period...because Vogel was 'generally discharged' from the army, his name would be flagged for further examination," meaning it may have taken some time to get his hands on the gun.

However for Lady, who has been arrested and released, getting a gun was instantaneous.

"It's an impulsive move and that’s what’s bothersome of the facts in this case. The laws of the United States are designed to provide all of us a safe landscape. A predictable future," Huber said.

In a statement to Fox13, Jill McCluskey says, "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."

Lady has been arrested and a trial date has been set. Vogel is wanted on a federal warrant, but law enforcement is hopeful he'll turn himself in.