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DA: Robert Telles, charged in reporter’s killing, a ‘danger to community’

Updated September 13, 2022 - 3:29 pm

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles appeared in court Tuesday after prosecutors formally charged him with murder in the death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German.

Telles, 45, last appeared in court on Thursday, when Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham ordered him to be held without bail. On Tuesday morning, a hearing before Justice of the Peace Pro Tem William Jansen was pushed back to Sept. 20.

Travis Shetler, Telles’ defense attorney, said he “just needed more time.” Attorneys could argue next week whether Telles should be granted bail.

“We consider him to be a flight risk and a danger to the community, so when the bail issue arises, we’re going to argue for a very high bail,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told reporters on Tuesday.

Shetler declined to comment further on the case on Tuesday.

Telles appeared briefly in court Tuesday morning, escorted by police officers and wearing what appeared to be white bandages on his forearms. After his arrest on Wednesday, Telles was loaded into an ambulance outside his home. Officials have said he was suffering from superficial, self-inflicted cuts on his arms.

On Monday, prosecutors filed a criminal complaint formally charging Telles with murder with a deadly weapon of a victim who is an older person.

The complaint alleges that the killing was “willful, deliberate and premeditated,” “perpetrated by lying in wait,” and/or “perpetrated by abuse of an older person.”

Wolfson said it was unlikely that more charges would be filed in connection with German’s killing.

“There’s always the possibility, but at this point I don’t think there will be additional charges related to the event involving Mr. German,” Wolfson said Tuesday.

Telles was arrested in German’s death on Wednesday evening, about 12 hours after police arrived at his west Las Vegas house to conduct a search. German was found dead at his home on the morning of Sept. 3, just under 24 hours after his killer was captured on video surveillance approaching the house, police have said.

During the court hearing on Thursday, prosecutors linked German’s killing to his reporting on Telles’ conduct as an elected official. Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Scow said German’s reporting “ruined his political career, likely his marriage.”

Earlier this year, German reported a series of investigative stories about Telles’ workplace conduct, including allegations from current and former staffers that Telles fueled a hostile work environment and was involved in an “inappropriate relationship” with an employee. German was working on a potential follow-up story in the weeks before his death.

German, 69, was found with seven sharp-force injuries to his torso, along with wounds to his arms and hands that appeared defensive, according to Telles’ arrest report. Telles’ DNA was consistent with DNA found under German’s fingernails, officials have said.

Telles was questioned by police on Wednesday and voluntarily turned over his clothing to investigators before he was allowed to return home because authorities did not have sufficient evidence at the time to continue detaining him, Wolfson has said.

On Tuesday, Wolfson said investigators asked for a DNA test to be rushed after Telles spoke with police. Telles was arrested hours after returning home.

Wolfson also said authorities continue to investigate the slaying.

“Investigations don’t stop once a person is arrested,” he said. “Information comes forward to the police, they continue to investigate, and they’re going to look at all angles of this case, because that’s what we would do in any important case like this.”

Telles, a Democrat, lost his re-election bid in the primary after German’s findings were published, but his term does not expire until the end of the year.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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