Democrat official charged with stabbing murder of journalist, denied bail, but can keep $130K county job

A Democratic elected official accused of stabbing Las Vegas-Review Journal investigative reporter Jeff German to death could keep his $130,000-per-year position until January, when a new person will step into Clark County’s public guardian position, despite damning DNA evidence connecting him to the brutal crime.

As previously reported, Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was taken into custody on Wednesday evening, after German was found dead outside his Las Vegas home.

Telles lost his primary election in June, in part because of an investigation by German, who was working on a follow-up story on Telles at the time of his death. German was stabbed seven times, and his DNA was reportedly found under Telles’ fingernails, according to local Las Vegas station, WSAV.


(Video: WSAV)

Telles was charged with one count of murder and is currently being held without bail, but the issue of what to do about his employment has the county’s hands tied.

Barring a recall vote, Telles will continue to hold his elected position until his term runs out.

“For now, he’s still an elected officer and he’ll get paid while he’s in jail,” said Democratic Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom. “We can take the scope of work away from him, but as far as him having the title and getting the salary, it is that way, because the voters picked him.”

The only other available option is for Telles to resign.


(Video: Daily Mail)

Though Judge Elana Lee Graham denied Telles bail on Thursday, there is always the possibility that he will be granted bail pending trial at a later date. Should that happen, officials say Telles will be denied access to his office and other county buildings.

“People don’t need to worry that the place isn’t being run or he’s still running it,” Segerblom assured Sin City residents.

Telles, who lives just six miles from German’s home, was arrested after police released a photo of a red or maroon GMC Yukon Denali they believed was tied to the suspect. Las Vegas Review-Journal reporters spotted Telles in his driveway later that evening, standing next to a car that matched the description of the wanted vehicle.

Telles was taken in for a DNA sample and questioning and, as a suspect can only be held for an hour without probable cause under Nevada law, he was released and driven back home wearing a white hazmat suit and flip-flops, as his clothing had been confiscated.

According to Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Dori Koren, as Telles was being returned home, investigators were consulting with the Clark County district attorney’s office to secure an arrest warrant, “ensuring a solid case, building evidence,” the Review-Journal reports.

By the time police, clad in tactical gear, surrounded his home later that evening, Telles had barricaded himself inside. Las Vegas police called on criminal defense attorney Ozzie Fumo — a longtime friend of the murdered journalist —  to help get him out.

“I was thinking supportive things,” the attorney told the Journal. “‘Everything’s going to be OK.’ Whatever I could do to help him feel comfortable. I didn’t want anybody else to get hurt. I just didn’t want any more people hurt. I thought if I could de-escalate the situation by calming him down, that might be the best way to do it.”

Ultimately, Fumo’s services weren’t needed. Moments before he arrived on the tense scene, Metro let him know, “We took him into custody without incident.”

At 6:30 Wednesday evening, he was arrested for the crime. At the time of his arrest, officers suspect Telles may have attempted suicide by taking narcotics, according to WSAV.

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Melissa Fine

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