Omaha man pawns stolen gun connected to 1998 Seward County homicide

By Alia Conley

November 2, 2018

A gun that was stolen from a man who was killed 20 years ago recently turned up in an Omaha pawnshop.

The Seward County homicide case has long been closed. But authorities are investigating the man who pawned the gun in August at Sol’s Jewelry and Loan at 72nd and Maple Streets.

Lora McKinney is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting her off-and-on boyfriend, Harold Kuenning, at his cabin near Milford in 1998.

Prosecutors said McKinney, then 32, killed 56-year-old Kuenning because she needed money to fuel her crack cocaine addiction. McKinney was arrested five years after the slaying.

Authorities said they could not determine whether the gun found at the pawnshop was the one used in the fatal shooting. A .357-caliber Magnum handgun, which McKinney’s defense lawyer had said could have been the weapon used, was found in a Lincoln motel room where two witnesses — not McKinney — smoked crack hours after the shooting.

An Omaha ordinance that requires pawnshops to report sales to an online company led authorities to the gun. Omaha Police Officer Bill Fell received a notification that the gun’s serial number was in a national crime database as being related to the 1998 homicide case.

The blue .38 Colt Detective Special was pawned by a 55-year-old Omaha man on Aug. 26, according to an affidavit. The gun had been registered to Kuenning, who purchased it in 1979.

The Nebraska State Patrol is continuing to investigate the stolen firearm. The man who pawned it has not yet been charged.

Three guns linked to the homicide had gone missing. Authorities previously had recovered two. With the latest discovery, now all are accounted for, said Cody Thomas, a spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol.