LAS VEGAS — A local elected official faces a judge on Tuesday for murder in the stabbing death of a Las Vegas investigative reporter who wrote articles critical of him and his managerial conduct.
Robert Richard Telles, the Clark County public administrator, has remained jailed without bail since his Sept. 7 arrest in the Sept. 2 slaying of veteran Las Vegas Review-Journal editor Jeff German.
A criminal complaint accuses Telles of “stalking” German, 69, who prosecutors say was stabbed seven times. German lived alone and his body was found the next day. The Clark County coroner ruled her death a homicide.
Telles, 45, was arrested after police asked for help over Labor Day weekend to identify a person seen wearing an orange work shirt and wide-brimmed straw hat carrying a bag slung over and marching to German’s house on the morning of September 2. Police also released footage of a distinctive SUV seen near German’s home, driven by a person wearing an orange shirt.
A Review-Journal photographer took photos Sept. 6 of Telles washing the same type of vehicle in his driveway.
Police said Telles turned off his cellphone and waited in a vehicle outside German’s home until the attack. It was characterized as a planned response to articles German wrote about “internal unrest and dissension” in the county office that handles the assets of people who died without a will or family contact.
Telles lost his first re-election bid in June after articles in May aired allegations of administrative intimidation, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a junior staffer. County lawmakers appointed a consultant to handle complaints about leadership in his office.
German was widely respected for his tenacity, and his colleagues said he was working on follow-up reports on Telles and the public administrator’s office when he died.
“The published articles … ruined (Telles’) political career, probably his marriage, and he was the one who took on the cause,” Clark County Chief Assistant District Attorney Richard Scow said. to a judge on September 8.
That judge, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham, called the police report detailing the attack “chilling” and said it described the German “fighting for his life”. She spoke of apparent defense wounds on German’s arms and said DNA believed to be from Telles had been found under German’s fingernails.
Police said a search warrant revealed items at Telles’ home, including blood-stained shoes and a straw hat cut into pieces. Authorities said they did not immediately find the weapon used to kill the German.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, a Republican running for governor in November, said investigators also obtained security video that may show the attack.
The Nevada Press Association announced that the German would be inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame this Saturday.
German joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at rival Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter covering the courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime.
Telles grew up in El Paso, Texas and lived in Colorado before moving to Las Vegas. He worked as a heating and air conditioning technician and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nevada Law School in Las Vegas. He practiced inheritance and inheritance law before being elected public administrator in 2018, replacing a three-term predecessor.
The Review-Journal reported that in El Paso, Telles’ late grandfather, Richard Telles, served as city clerk, school board trustee, and county commissioner. A great-uncle, Raymond L. Telles Jr., served as the city’s first Mexican-American mayor and was appointed by President John F. Kennedy as Ambassador to Costa Rica and by President Lyndon B. Johnson as President of the United States-Mexico Border Commission. .
Telles’ father, Raymond R. Telles, was elected to two terms on the El Paso City Council, but lost a bid for mayor. He later gave up his law degree and avoided jail time after pleading guilty to federal conspiracy and wire fraud.
Court and police records show Robert Telles was arrested in Las Vegas in February 2020 after his wife called 911. He was charged with grabbing her in a “bear hug position” and of resisting the efforts of two police officers to handcuff him. During his arrest, Telles was recorded on police-worn cameras acknowledging that he had been drinking alcohol and repeatedly identifying himself as a public official.
The case was dismissed and closed in March 2021 after Telles paid a $418 fine, attended counseling and stayed out of trouble.
His term expires Dec. 31, but Clark County officials said he is suspended and banned from county office or property pending a review of his elected position.