A local elected official is due to face a judge Tuesday on murder charges related to the stabbing of a Las Vegas investigative journalist who wrote articles criticizing him and his behavior as a manager.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Richard Telles has been jailed without bail since his September 7 arrest in the September 7 killing of veteran Las Vegas Review-Journal contributor Jeff German.
A criminal complaint accuses Telles of “lying in wait” for the 69-year-old German, who, according to the public prosecutor, was stabbed seven times. German lived alone and his body was found the next day. The Clark County Coroner ruled that his death was a homicide.
Telles, 45, was arrested after police asked for help over Labor Day weekend to identify a person who walked into the home of the man in an orange work shirt and wide-brimmed straw hat with a shoulder bag on the morning of September 2 German approached. Police also released images of a distinctive SUV seen near German’s home being driven by a person wearing an orange shirt.
A Review-Journal photographer took photos on Sept. 6 of Telles washing the same type of vehicle in his driveway.
Police said Telles turned off his cell phone and waited in a vehicle outside German’s home until the attack. It has been described as a planned response to articles German wrote about “uproar and internal strife” at the district office, which manages the assets of people who died without wills or family contacts.
Telles lost his primary run for re-election in June after articles in May circulated allegations of administrative bullying, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a junior employee. The county legislature appointed a counselor to deal with complaints about the 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 State Administration Office when he died.
“The articles that were published … ruined[Telles’]political career, probably his marriage, and it was he who took the lead,” Clark County Assistant District Attorney Richard Scow told a judge Sept. 8.
That judge, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham, called the police report detailing the attack “terrifying” and said it described Deutsch as “fighting for his life.” Speaking of apparent defensive injuries on German’s arms, she said DNA believed to be from Telles was found under German’s fingernails.
Police said a search warrant found items at Telle’s home, including blood-stained shoes and a straw hat that had been cut into pieces. Authorities said they did not immediately locate the gun that killed German.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, a Republican running for governor in November, said investigators also received security video that could show the attack.
The Nevada Press Association announced that German will be inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame this Saturday.
German joined Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at rival Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter covering 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 from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a law degree in 2014. He practiced probate and probate law before being elected state administrator in 2018, replacing a three-term predecessor.
The Review-Journal reported that Telles’ late grandfather, Richard Telles, served in El Paso as city clerk, school board trustee and district commissioner. A great-uncle, Raymond L. Telles Jr., was the city’s first Mexican-American mayor and was appointed ambassador to Costa Rica by President John F. Kennedy and chairman of the United States-Mexico Boundary Commission by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Telles’ father, Raymond R. Telles, was elected to the El Paso City Council for two terms but lost a bid for mayor. He later relinquished his law license and avoided jail after pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy and wire fraud count.
Court and police records show that Robert Telles was arrested in Las Vegas in February 2020 after his wife called 911. He was accused of grabbing her in a “bear hug position” and defying efforts by two police officers to handcuff him. During his arrest, police body-worn cameras caught Telles admitting to drinking and repeatedly identifying himself as an officer.
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 has been suspended and banned from county offices or properties pending a review of his position as an elected official.