A Nevada county official was ordered held without bail Thursday in the fatal stabbing of a reporter who exposed wrongdoing in his office.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he expects to formally charge Public Administrator Robert Telles at his next court appearance on Tuesday.
“The evidence is compelling, and I expect us to file a charge of open murder against Mr. Telles,” Wolfson said after the court hearing.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, 69, was found dead outside his home Saturday morning, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
On Wednesday morning, police executed search warrants on Telles’s home, then returned and arrested him that evening.
Telles, 45, was carried out of his home on a stretcher suffering from what police said were superficial, self-inflicted cuts on his arms, the Review-Journal reported.
Earlier on Thursday, Las Vegas police said during a news conference that investigators found a straw hat and shoes, cut into pieces, that matched what a suspect was seen wearing in surveillance video police released earlier this week. Capt. Dori Koren showed photos of the hat and shoes at the news conference, noting what appeared to be blood on the shoes. More significantly, Koren said, was Telles’s DNA found at the crime scene.
An arrest report released later in day revealed that DNA was found underneath German’s fingernails, indicating he fought back against his assailant.
The report detailed what happened on Friday morning, when German was killed. Surveillance video showed the killer approaching German’s home at 11:18 a.m. and apparently breaching a pedestrian gate. A few minutes later, German’s garage door opened and he exited, walking toward the gate. He was “immediately attacked,” the report said.
German’s body was not found for nearly 24 hours. Investigators noted a sharp-force wound to his neck, and an autopsy revealed seven stab wounds to his torso. The report said he also had injuries to his arms and hands, further indicating he tried to protect himself from the blows.
According to the report, surveillance video showed the killer walking away from the crime scene but returning six minutes later in a maroon GMC Yukon Denali — which matches the description of a vehicle owned by Telles’s wife.
“The suspect, wearing the same clothing, exited the Maroon GMC Denali, re-approached the area where (German’s) body was located and appeared to look for something,” the arrest report states.
The killer got back in the vehicle and drove off. The Denali owned by Telles’s wife was among evidence seized during the search Wednesday morning.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal published several of German’s stories exposing a toxic work culture in Telles’s office — including an alleged inappropriate relationship with one of his subordinates. German had recently filed public records requests for more documentation for his investigation.
Telles lost his reelection bid in June for the public administrator position — which oversees estates of deceased persons who have no relatives or other executors — finishing third in a three-person race for the Democratic nomination. The spot was won by one of his deputies, Rita Reid, who will face off with Republican Patsy Brown and Independent Tabatha al-Dabbagh in November.
German’s family released a statement on Thursday, calling him “a loving and loyal brother, uncle and friend who devoted his life to exposing wrongdoing in Las Vegas and beyond.”
“We’re shocked, saddened and angry about his death. Jeff was committed to seeking justice for others and would appreciate the hard work by local police and journalists in pursuing his killer,” the statement said. “We look forward to seeing justice done in this case. We also want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, support and recognition for Jeff and his life’s work.”
Private services were held for German on Wednesday.
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[Featured image: Left, Jeff German/Wikicommons and Robert Telles/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department]