Robert Telles arrested after DNA match

LAS VEGAS — The DNA of a now-arrested Nevada elected official was found at the scene of the killing of a Las Vegas reporter, authorities said Thursday, revealing that the officer was also “upset” by the stories the reporter was pursuing.

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 45, lost his re-election bid in June amid a series of critical articles published by Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German earlier this year. telles who faces a murder case involving a deadly weapon, appeared in court for the first time on Thursday and was denied bail.

“It is quite chilling,” said Justice of the Peace Elana Graham, “that the defendant’s DNA was allegedly recovered from the victim’s hands, presumably during the time he was fighting for his life.”

New details detailing what prompted police to close in on Telles as their prime suspect five days after the 69-year-old German was stabbed to death outside his home on Saturday have been revealed at a press conference on Thursday.

“Telles was upset by articles written by German as an investigative journalist that exposed potential wrongdoing,” Las Vegas Police Chief Dori Koren said, adding that at the time of the attack, Telles had recently discovered “that additional reports were pending.” . “

authorities took Telles was taken into custody at his home on Wednesday night after an hours-long standoff. He was hospitalized for what Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo described as self-inflicted wounds. The arrest came just hours after the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department completed a search of his property and vehicles.

Authorities: Bloody shoes, DNA lead to arrest of Robert Telles

German was stabbed to death outside his home in northwest Las Vegas Saturday “in the late hours of the morning,” police said, but authorities didn’t learn of his death until the next day, when an 911 caller reported finding German’s body next to his home .

Authorities initially suspected that the murder may have been committed by a person who was searching German’s neighborhood “to commit other crimes.” A security camera photo showed the killer with a duffel bag and an orange work shirt with reflective stripes, gloves and a wide-brimmed straw hat.

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Investigators now believe Telles dressed like this to disguise his identity and his ties to Germans, Koren said on Thursday.

During a search of Telle’s property on Wednesday, detectives collected a DNA sample from the suspect, which police said came back as a positive match to DNA found at German’s crime scene. After police received the DNA test results later that afternoon, they obtained an arrest warrant, leading to a standoff.

Police also found a pair of shoes stained with dried blood and a straw hat during their search, Koren said, but as of Thursday the weapon used in the attack had not been found.

The arrest report describes the fatal attack

Outgoing Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles washes his car in front of his home Tuesday, September 6, 2022 in Las Vegas.  Authorities served search warrants on Telle's home on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 in connection with the fatal stabbing of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German.  (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

A newly released arrest report obtained by the USA TODAY Network describes how Deutsch was stabbed multiple times in a surprise attack. Authorities believe the German fought back, investigators wrote in the three-page report, because he had “defense injuries.” The suspect’s DNA was found under German’s fingernails.

On the morning of the attack, the report says, Telles was in German’s neighborhood about half an hour before the death. After the attack, the suspect got up and “calmly” walked away from German’s home, the report said.

The suspect returned to German’s home minutes later and appeared “to be looking for something,” the report said.

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A reporter who has dedicated his life to journalism

Jeff German, investigative reporter, poses for a portrait at the Las Vegas Review-Journal photo studio in Las Vegas January 19, 2017.  German was stabbed outside his home and police are looking for a suspect, authorities said.  Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers found journalist German dead with stab wounds around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 3, 2022 after authorities received an 911 call, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

German joined Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter covering courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime. He was 69.

In a statement, German’s family called him “a loving and devoted brother, uncle and friend who has dedicated his life to his work exposing wrongdoing in Las Vegas and beyond.”

“We are shocked, saddened and angry at his death,” the statement said. “Jeff was determined to seek justice for others and would appreciate the hard work of local police and journalists in the pursuit of his killer. We look forward to seeing justice served in this case.”

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Glenn Cook, Editor-in-Chief of the Review-Journal, said in a statement that “the arrest of Robert Telles is both a tremendous relief and an outrage to the Review-Journal’s editorial board.”

“We are relieved that Robert Telles is in custody and appalled that a colleague was reportedly killed for reporting on an elected official,” the statement said. “Journalists cannot do the important work our communities demand if they fear that presenting facts could lead to violent retaliation. We thank the Las Vegas Police Department for their urgency and hard work and for immediately recognizing the horrifying significance of Jeff’s murder.”

“Hopefully the Review-Journal, the German family and Jeff’s many friends can begin the mourning process and honor a great man and a brave reporter,” it said.

The suspect complained about news articles

Telles, an attorney who practiced probate and probate law, won his elected position in 2018, replacing a three-year public administrator. He lost his party primary in June to Deputy Administrator Rita Reid, who faces a Republican challenger in November. Telles’ term expires on December 31.

In the weeks leading up to the election, German bylined reported on an office mired “in turmoil and internal discord” between veteran employees and new hires under Telles’ leadership.

Telles accused “Oldtimer” of exaggerating the extent of his relationship with a co-worker and falsely claiming he abused her. He said all of his employees are “happy” and have “nearly doubled productivity in the office.”

Telles later released Twitter complaints about Deutsch, the Review-Journal reported, including claims in June that Deutsch was a bully who was “obsessed” with him.

German, a reporter with a reputation for tenacity, is working on follow-up reports, the newspaper said Wednesday, and recently filed public record requests for emails and text messages between Telles and three other county officials, including Reid and counsel Michael Murphy.

Contribution: The Associated Press

Rio Lacanlale is a Las Vegas correspondent for the Reno Gazette Journal and the USA Today Network. Contact her at [email protected]

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