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Public servant detained in Vegas journalist killing facing job loss – The Denver Post

By Ken Ritter

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A local elected official obtained court-appointed attorneys during his arraignment Tuesday in the stabbing death of a Las Vegas investigative reporter who wrote articles critical of him and his managerial conduct.

Robert Richard Telles, the Clark County public administrator, also faced a lawsuit seeking to strip him of his elected position as head of the county office that manages the assets of people who died without a will or family contacts. Legal action could take several weeks. Telles, 45, is a Democrat whose term ends Dec. 31.

In court, he stood in irons on his wrists, waist and ankles as a Las Vegas judge told him he had been charged with the ‘unlawful, senseless and heinous murder’ on September 2 of the veteran Las Vegas Review-Journal editor Jeff German.

Telles spoke only to acknowledge that he understood the criminal charge. He was not told in court about the civil suit, which Clark County Attorney Steve Wolfson later described to reporters in a courthouse hallway.

It was not immediately clear whether Telles had an attorney representing him in the case. A hearing date has not been set immediately.

“Mr. Telles has been detained,” said Wolfson, also a Democrat. “He is unable to perform his duties … so we call for his removal.”

Clark County officials said after Telles’ arrest that he was banned from county offices pending a review of his elected position. He remained on the county payroll.

In court, a judge has scheduled an evidence hearing for Oct. 26 to determine whether Telles should be tried in state court for murder. His plea would be entered at that time.

Wolfson said he will determine in the coming weeks whether Telles will face the death penalty. German was 69, and prosecutors added an age increase to the charge against Telles.

Edward Kane, a veteran assistant public defender now representing Telles in the murder case, told the judge that Telles would not immediately seek bail and that it would be determined whether Telles could afford his own attorney.

Telles’ salary is around $120,000, with an additional $50,000 in benefits, according to records kept by the Transparent Nevada website.

Kane and his colleague David Lopez-Negrete declined to comment in court. The judge let attorney Travis Shetler step aside from Telles’ case.

Telles was out of bandages on his forearms on Tuesday. He was hospitalized briefly after his arrest for treatment of arm injuries that police at the time said were self-inflicted.

He is accused in a criminal complaint of “stalking” German, who authorities say was stabbed seven times. German lived alone and his body was found the next day.

Telles was arrested several days later after police asked for the public’s help in identifying a person seen wearing an orange work shirt and wide-brimmed straw hat carrying a shoulder bag and walking towards the house of German on the morning of September 2. Police also released footage of a distinctive SUV seen near German’s home that was being driven by a person wearing an orange shirt.

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

Police allege Telles turned off his cell phone and waited in a vehicle outside German’s home until the attack. It has been characterized as a planned response to articles German wrote about “internal turmoil and dissension” in Telles’ office.

Telles lost the Democratic Party primary in June after articles in May aired allegations of administrative intimidation, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a junior staffer. County lawmakers appointed a consultant to handle complaints about leadership in his office.

German was widely respected for his tenacity, and colleagues said he was working on follow-up reports on Telles and the public administrator’s office when he was killed.

On September 8, a Las Vegas judge called the police report describing the attack “chilling” and said it described the German “fighting for his life”. She spoke of apparent defense wounds on German’s arms and said DNA believed to be from Telles had been found under German’s fingernails.

Police reported finding items at Telles’ home, including blood-stained shoes and a straw hat cut into pieces. They said they did not immediately find the weapon used to kill the German.

Although police said security video showed Telles near German’s home, Wolfson said authorities did not have video showing the attack.

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

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

Court and police records show Robert Telles was arrested at his Las Vegas home during a domestic violence investigation in February 2020. He was accused of grabbing his wife in a ‘cuddling position’ bear”” and resisting the efforts of two police officers to handcuff him. During his arrest, Telles was recorded on police-worn cameras acknowledging that he had been drinking alcohol and repeatedly identifying himself as a public official.

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

In a Friday prison interview with the Review-Journal, Telles acknowledged “mistakes” including alcohol abuse and his 2020 arrest, but denied harming his wife or children. He refused to answer questions about German’s murder.

denverpost

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