Court Date Set for 2 in Shooting Death in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP/Hamodia) -

A Jan. 20 court date has been set for a couple accused of killing a California man who police say was sleeping in his car outside a northwest Las Vegas gym.

Kyle Wad Staats, 27, and Megan Lee Hippie, 19, made an initial court appearance Monday on conspiracy, robbery and murder charges in the early Dec. 29 slaying of Neil Brian Gandler, a 42 year old Jewish tech entrepreneur, of Palo Alto, who was in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show.

A judge postponed arraignment to allow time to appoint attorneys to the case.

Staats also faces stolen vehicle and firearm charges.

Police say Gandler was shot dead in his vehicle outside a 24 Hour Fitness on Rainbow Boulevard near Alta Drive. Security video showed a sedan pull up next to Gandler’s vehicle before the shooting.

“The two individuals had gone basically on a crime spree and decided to rob the victim, who happened to be sleeping in his car,” said Lt. Dan McGrath, Metro Police, cited by NBC3 Las Vegas.

According to the arrest report, cited by NBC3, Hippie told police that Staats got out of their car holding a gun and knocked on Gandler’s window.

Hippie said that Gandler said, “Don’t do it” and then she heard a gunshot.

“Very shocking he became the victim in these circumstances. He’s completely innocent,” said Lt. McGrath.

“We’re devastated. We’re absolutely devastated,” said Jane Levene, Gandler’s aunt. “There was no one like him.”
Police caught the couple after surveillance images brought in tips from the public.