The Justice Files: No prison time recommended for gun owner in U of U murder


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Nathan Vogel’s crime may not land him in prison.

He was indicted for supplying the handgun to Melvin Rowland who used it to murder Lauren McCluskey.

Last October, McCluskey was in her car at the University of Utah campus when Rowland walked up to her and shot.

Rowland was a felon and a sex offender who fooled McCluskey into thinking he was someone else.

The U of U student learned who he was and was trying to stop the relationship and complained to police he was stalking her.

McCluskey’s mother urged law enforcement to prosecute the man who gave Rowland the gun.

But a former prosecutor and now a defense attorney, Greg Skordas said Vogel didn’t commit any crime when he gave Rowland the gun.

“Supplying a gun to a person who later uses it in a crime isn’t a crime to the supplier,” Skordas said.

He said unless Vogel knew of Rowland’s intent then he could have faced charges.

The only crime prosecutors could charge him with is making a false statement to buy a gun.

He admitted to getting Sarah Lady to buy the gun for him. it’s called a straw purchase. Skordas said that kind of crime is rarely enforced.

“We don’t punish people for that type of offense,” Skordas said. “Historically, it’s not even a crime that we often charge.”

According to court documents Vogel has no criminal history, went to the police right after the murder to tell authorities he gave Rowland the gun. Both sides are not seeking imprisonment but he should be placed on probation for three years.

In response to the plea deal, McCluskey’s mother issued this text: “Vogel will have a felony on his record. I have no other comment.”

Court records showed Vogel spent a few days in a San Diego County Jail before he was extradited to Utah. Court records indicate he did not spend any time in any of Utah’s jails.


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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