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Robert Telles to remain in custody without bail, judge rules

Updated October 18, 2022 - 4:36 pm

A judge ordered former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles to remain in custody without bail on Tuesday, after his attorney argued that he should be granted a $100,000 bail.

Telles, 45, is accused of killing Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, who had reported on Telles and his role as an elected official. Telles has been held in the Clark County Detention Center without bail since his arrest.

Last week, Telles’ public defender filed a motion asking for a judge to either release him on his own recognizance or set his bail at $100,000. Prosecutors filed an opposition on Thursday, arguing that the judge should not grant Telles bail.

“I don’t have a problem reconsidering my decision after listening to the preliminary hearing, but at this point I am concurring with the state, and bail is denied,” Justice of the Peace Karen Bennett-Haron said during Tuesday’s hearing.

Telles clutched his hands to his chest throughout the hearing and appeared to cry when his attorney stated that he has the support of his wife and mother, who also were seen crying while sitting in court on Tuesday.

The women declined to comment after the hearing.

Chief Deputy Public Defender Edward Kane wrote in the defense motion that holding Telles without bail is unnecessary, and that he is not a flight risk. He also indicated that Telles believes his family would be able to help him post a $100,000 bail.

“The offense with which he was charged was a personal dispute, if the state’s theory of evidence holds up, between my client and Mr. Jeff German,” Kane said Tuesday. “There is no evidence that he’s a danger to anyone else. There’s no evidence that if released anyone else would be in peril, or that monetary bail or other conditions are needed to ensure the safety of the community.”

‘Overwhelming’ evidence

Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Hamner argued that the Nevada Constitution and state law indicate that defendants are not entitled to bail “if the proof is evident and the presumption is great that you have committed a capital offense such as murder.”

Prosecutors wrote in their motion that Telles is charged with first-degree murder, although he has formally been charged with “open murder,” which is a more general allegation.

Hamner also argued that the likelihood of Telles being convicted is “enormous,” and that “the evidence in this case is overwhelming.”

“The motive for this murder is abundantly clear,” the prosecutor said. “He went after the guy who ruined his life.”

German, 69, was found dead with stab wounds outside his Las Vegas home on Sept. 3. Telles is accused of stabbing the journalist the day prior, when surveillance footage captured someone in a bright orange shirt and straw hat walking onto German’s property, police have said.

Surveillance footage also showed the person leaving the home after German was attacked, then driving back about six minutes later in a maroon GMC Denali matching the description of a vehicle registered to Telles’ wife, according to authorities.

Hamner said Tuesday that Telles was seen washing the Denali after German was killed, “to potentially get rid of any evidence.”

Police who searched Telles’ home found a cut-up straw hat and shoes matching the description of clothing worn by the suspect. DNA found under German’s fingernails also matched Telles’ DNA, and Hamner said “there is absolutely no reason on this planet” for that.

“They are not friends. They are not roommates. They have no interaction,” the prosecutor said.

Resources to flee

Prosecutors have argued that Telles is a danger to others and himself, and Hamner said Tuesday that “he nearly took his own life” before he was arrested on Sept. 7.

“The State is also concerned that unlike many defendants, Defendant Telles has the means to flee the jurisdiction if he wanted,” prosecutors wrote in the opposition.

Kane argued on Tuesday that if Telles wanted to flee the jurisdiction, he would have done so during the highly publicized events that led up to his arrest.

The attorney also argued that because Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson previously told reporters that prosecutors would argue for Telles to receive a “very high bail,” the state should not be able to argue against bail.

“I would equate my statement of a very high bail with a no bail setting,” Wolfson said following Tuesday’s hearing.

A preliminary hearing, when a judge determines if there is enough evidence for a defendant to stand trial, is scheduled for Oct. 26. But prosecutors could instead move to indict Telles through a grand jury hearing, which is a secret proceeding.

When asked if prosecutors are planning to seek an indictment, Wolfson said Tuesday that “the grand jury is always an option.”

If you’re thinking about suicide, or are worried about a friend or loved one, help is available 24/7 by calling or texting the Lifeline network at 988. Live chat is available at 988lifeline.org.

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

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