Official convicted of murder of journalist in Las Vegas in court

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LAS VEGAS — A local elected official is due to appear in court on Tuesday for the murder of an investigative reporter in Las Vegas who wrote articles critical of him and his management behavior.

Clark County County Clerk Robert Richard Telles remains in jail without bail since his Sept. 7 murder of veteran Las Vegas Review-Journal contributor Jeff German.

A criminal complaint accuses Telles of “lurking” for the 69-year-old German, who was stabbed seven times, according to prosecutors. 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 was seen wearing an orange work shirt and wide-brimmed straw hat carrying a shoulder bag and on the morning of September 2 walked to the house of the German. has also released images of a striking SUV seen near German’s home driven by a person wearing an orange shirt.

A Review-Journal photographer snapped photos of Telles washing the same type of vehicle in his driveway on Sept. 6.

Police said Telles had turned off his cell phone and was waiting in a vehicle outside German’s home for the attack. It was characterized as a planned response to articles written by German about “turmoil and internal discord” in the district office dealing with assets of people who die without wills or family contacts.

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Telles lost his primary bid for re-election in June after articles were published in May about administrative harassment, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a subordinate staffer. County lawmakers have appointed an adviser to address complaints about 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 public administrator’s office when he died.

“The articles published … are ruining (Telles’) political career, probably his marriage, and this was him lashing out at the case,” chief attorney Richard Scow, deputy district attorney in Clark County, told a judge on Sept. 8.

That judge, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham, called the police report describing the attack “horrifying” and said it described the Germans “fighting for his life.” She spoke of apparent defensive wounds to German’s arms and said TBEN was found under German’s fingernails believed to have come from Telles.

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Police said a search warrant revealed items in Telles’ home, including blood-stained shoes and a dismembered straw hat. Authorities said they did not immediately find the weapon used to kill the German.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, a Republican who became governor in November, said investigators also obtained security videos that could show the attack.

The Nevada Press Association has announced that German will be inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame this Saturday.

German joined the Review-Journal in 2010, after more than two decades with the rival Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter on 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 law school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2014. He practiced probate and succession law before being elected public administrator in 2018, replacing a three-term predecessor.

The Review-Journal reported that in El Paso, Telles’ late grandfather, Richard Telles, served as city clerk, school administrator and county commissioner. A great-uncle, Raymond L. Telles Jr., was the city’s first Mexican-American mayor and was appointed by President John F. Kennedy as ambassador to Costa Rica and by President Lyndon B. Johnson as chairman of the United States-Mexican Border Commission.

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Telles’ father, Raymond R. Telles, was elected to the El Paso City Council for two terms, but lost a bid for mayor. He later gave up his law license and avoided prison after pleading guilty in a federal conspiracy and wire fraud case.

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 holding her in a bear-hug position and resisting attempts by two police officers to handcuff him. During his arrest, Telles was captured on police-carried cameras in which he acknowledged that he had consumed alcohol and repeatedly identified himself as a government official.

The case was dismissed and closed in March 2021 after Telles paid a $418 fine, attended counseling and stayed out of trouble.

His tenure 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 elected official.

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