Vegas Official Charged With Murder in Stabbing Death Of Journalist
A Las Vegas public official who recently lost re-election following an exposé in a local newspaper is has been charged with the murder of the celebrated journalist who wrote it, Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said in a press conference Thursday.
Robert Telles, 45, was arrested last night, and today has been charged with the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, who was known in the community for his investigative work focused on crime, and corruption in government.
German, 69, was found stabbed to death outside of his home in Las Vegas on Sunday. During the investigation, police released footage of a suspect they said was related to the crime, who was captured on camera wearing a large straw hat and a bright orange jacket that concealed their face. Police enacted Major Case Protocol, which is used in the county to allocate resources to high-profile cases.
Telles served as the Clark County Public Administrator and has been a resident of Clark County for 20 years, according to his government page. Police said Telles was first identified as a person of interest after he publicly expressed his issues with German’s reporting.
In May, The Las Vegas Review-Journal published an expose on Telles’ administration. Written by German, the article revealed allegations that Telles’ fostered a hostile work environment and was involved in an “inappropriate relationship” with a staffer that caused him to mismanage his duties. Telles vehemently denied the allegations and police said he was also vocal about not wanting a planned follow-up story to come out.
Investigators also linked Telles to a Maroon GMC Denali that was filmed acting suspiciously in German’s neighborhood. Several reports found that the car of interest matched an identical car in Telles’ driveway that was registered to his wife.
“The arrest of Robert Telles is at once an enormous relief and an outrage for the Review-Journal newsroom,” Glenn Cook, the Review’s executive editor, said in a statement. “We are relieved Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official. Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.”
Telles was arrested Wednesday following a police investigation. He was removed from his home on a stretcher, which police said was due to self-inflicted wounds that were non-life threatening. He is currently located at Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas and is scheduled to make his first court appearance at 1:00 p.m. Las Vegas time.
According to Thursday’s press conference, police recovered DNA from the crime scene that matched DNA taken from Telles. Officers also found shoes spattered with blood and a straw hat similar to the one in the suspect video, both of which were cut in a manner to destroy evidence, Captain Dori Koren said.
When asked whether the current political climate normalizes violence against journalists, Lombardo called it an inappropriate venue to speak on politics but added “it needs to be stated and noted that it is troublesome because it is a journalist and we expect journalism to be open and transparent and the watchdog for government. And when people take it upon themselves to create harm associated with that profession I think it’s very important that we put all eyes on and address the case appropriately.”
If convicted of felony murder, Telles could face up to 50 years in prison or the death penalty, according to Nevada law.