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Crime scene analyst provides grim details of Jeff German’s killing

Updated February 27, 2024 - 9:23 am

Slain Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German’s shirt that he was wearing when he was killed had what appeared to be cuts on the front and back, according to a Las Vegas police crime scene analyst.

And Robert Telles, the former public official accused of killing German in September 2022, had injuries on multiple fingers and a bruise on his upper right arm in the days after the slaying.

That’s according to Jennifer Manning, a senior crime scene analyst with the Metropolitan Police Department, who provided testimony Friday for Telles’ upcoming trial.

Manning documented and photographed German’s body and collected evidence — including swabs of the hands and mouth, as well as fingernail clippings and the clothes German had been wearing when he was killed — during his Sept. 4, 2022, autopsy.

German, 69, was found dead with stab wounds outside his Las Vegas home on Sept. 3, a day after prosecutors allege Telles walked onto German’s property and attacked him.

German, a longtime investigative reporter, had written a series of articles about the turmoil at the Clark County Public Administrator’s Office, which oversees the estates of those who died, beginning in May 2022. Telles, who at the time was the county public administrator, then lost his re-election bid.

Prosecutors have said that Telles’ DNA was found underneath German’s fingernails. Telles, who has pleaded not guilty, has claimed he was framed by a local real estate firm.

Disturbing details

Manning’s testimony offered grim and disturbing details of German’s killing.

German’s clothing was so “saturated” with blood, it needed to be dried in biohazard drying cabinets before being secured away as evidence, Manning said.

She also photographed Telles on Sept. 7, 2022, the same day Telles was arrested.

Manning said she saw one injury on Telles’ right ring finger, one on his left middle finger, one on the left ring finger, which had been covered with a bandage (which was then removed) and a bruise on his upper right arm.

Manning also collected Telles’ jeans and belt and took a buccal swab, which collects a DNA sample from a person’s mouth.

Prosecutors had previously said Manning wouldn’t be available for the current trial dates. Her testimony was recorded on video Friday.

In the video, Manning answers questions from both prosecutor Pamela Weckerly and Telles’ defense attorney, Robert Draskovich.

Weckerly asked Manning if she had possession of both the German and Telles evidence at the same time.

“Were you ever in possession of Mr. Telles’ buccal swab and the evidence you collected from Mr. German at autopsy at the same time?” Weckerly asked.

“No, I was not,” Manning said.

“Those were collected and impounded on different days?” Weckerly asked.

“Yes they were.”

“And kept totally separate.”

“Yes,” Manning said.

Draskovich asked Manning if she had measured the size of the possible cuts on the shirt, which were referred to in court by the lawyers and Manning as “defects,” or if she conducted any other analysis on the defects.

‘It looked like a cut’

Earlier, Weckerly had asked Manning to describe those defects she saw on the shirt.

“I noticed on the shirt there was defects to the front and defects to the back of the shirt,” Manning said.

Weckerly asked what the defects looked like.

“I would say it looked like a cut,” Manning said, saying “yes” when Weckerly asked if there was more than one cut on the shirt.

Asked if she was asked to photograph or document any objects that may have caused the defects, Manning said she wasn’t.

Weckerly then asked Manning if she normally measured a defect on clothing. Manning said it wouldn’t be her, that further analysis would normally involve somebody from the forensics lab, with Weckerly noting that further analysis would be done if there was a weapon to compare the clothing to, and Manning agreeing.

Draskovich, who said Monday that the crime scene analyst was a “relatively minor” witness, said it was notable that she testified that there was no analysis done on the tears in German’s shirt.

“They didn’t even measure the cuts,” Draskovich said, adding that typically, the cuts would have been compared to a murder weapon, but police have not recovered the knife used to kill German.

“There was an injury to Robert Telles’ nail, but there appeared to be no scratch wounds anywhere on his body,” Draskovich said of the apparent injuries noted by the crime scene analyst.

Prosecutors have pointed to the DNA as being part of the “overwhelming evidence” against Telles.

“We’re consulting with experts concerning the DNA evidence,” Draskovich said Monday.

Telles’ trial is set to start March 18.

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

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