U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

County official arrested in stabbing death of Las Vegas investigative journalist

Incident Details

Date of Incident
September 2, 2022
Location
Las Vegas, Nevada

Assault

Assailant
Politician
Was the journalist targeted?
Yes
© LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, Inc. (2021), used with permission

Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German, photographed on Las Vegas’ Strip in June 2021, was killed outside his home on Sept. 2, 2022. A county official has been charged with his murder.

— © LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, Inc. (2021), used with permission
November 2, 2022 - Update

Trial date set for county official charged in the murder of Las Vegas journalist

During a hearing on Nov. 2, 2022, a Clark County judge set a spring 2023 trial date for Robert Telles, the former public official charged in the stabbing death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German.

Telles’ next status hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 1 ahead of his trial beginning on April 17, according to the Review-Journal. He has been denied bail and held at the Clark County Detention Center since his arrest.

October 26, 2022 - Update

County official pleads not guilty in the murder of Las Vegas journalist

Robert Telles, the former public official charged in the stabbing death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment hearing on Oct. 26, 2022.

In footage of the hearing published by the Review-Journal, Telles also waived his right to a jury trial within 60 days. Prosecutors informed the court that they will not pursue the death penalty in the case against Telles.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 2.

October 19, 2022 - Update

County official charged with murder of Las Vegas journalist, faces possible death penalty

A grand jury approved the murder indictment of a former public official on Oct. 19, 2022, in connection with the stabbing death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German.

Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was arrested on Sept. 7 and charged with open murder, the general allegation for any homicide. Telles has now been formally charged with premeditated murder with the use of a deadly weapon against a victim over the age of 60, according to the indictment.

The superseeding first-degree murder indictment means that Telles may now face the death penalty and will not have a preliminary evidentiary hearing, the Associated Press reported.

Telles has been held at the Clark County Detention Center without bail since his arrest. Telles is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 26, according to online Clark County Jail records reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

October 18, 2022 - Update

County official accused of stabbing death of Las Vegas journalist denied bail

A judge ordered that the public official accused of murdering Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German continue to be held without bail on Oct. 18, 2022.

Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was arrested on Sept. 7 and charged with open murder, the general allegation for any homicide. Telles’ public defender filed a motion requesting that a judge release him under his own recognisance or set his bail at $100,000 on Oct. 10, according to the Review-Journal.

During the hearing on Oct. 18, Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Hamner argued that under state law and the Nevada Constitution, defendants can be denied bail if there is clear, overwhelming evidence that they have committed a capital offense such as murder, the Review-Journal reported.

Telles has been held at the Clark County Detention Center without bail since his arrest. A preliminary hearing — during which a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial — is scheduled for Oct. 26.

In denying bail to Telles, Justice of the Peace Karen Bennett-Haron said she may reconsider her decision after listening to arguments at the preliminary hearing.

September 8, 2022 - Update

Las Vegas police say evidence ties county official to murder of Review-Journal journalist

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said during a press conference on Sept. 8, 2022, that its investigation uncovered multiple pieces of evidence tying a public official to the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German.

On Sept. 6, LVMPD released two images during a news conference, including one of a suspect next to a vehicle. Later that evening, according to the Review-Journal, reporters for the outlet observed Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles in his driveway next to a vehicle matching the description.

During the press briefing, Homicide Section Captain Dori Koren said that while executing a search warrant of Telles’ home, vehicles and person the following day, investigators recovered a pair of shoes and straw hat matching those worn by the suspect. Both items had been roughly cut up, Koren said, in an apparent attempt to destroy them.

Officers also recovered DNA from the crime scene that matched samples taken from Telles, and blood on the pair of shoes was matched to German.

Koren confirmed during the press conference that detectives identified Telles as a person of interest early into the investigation, noting that the county official was upset with German’s past reporting and that there was more reporting pending. The Review-Journal reported that German had recently filed public records requests for emails and text messages between Telles and three other county officials.

According to a June 18 article by German, Telles posted a letter on his campaign website ahead of the Democratic primary attacking the Review-Journal and its reporting. On the same day that article was published, Telles also singled out German in a series of tweets, demeaning the investigative reporter and his articles.

8 News Now investigative reporter Vanessa Murphy reported that at a hearing on Sept. 8, Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham ordered Telles be held at Clark County Detention Center without bail on the charge of open murder, a general allegation for any homicide. His next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13, according to Murphy.

“This a terrible and jarring homicide, one that has deeply impacted Las Vegas,” LVMPD Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during the press briefing. “Every murder is tragic, but the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome.”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated with information from a Sept. 8 hearing.

September 2, 2022

On Sept. 7, 2022, Las Vegas police arrested a public official on suspicion of murdering a Las Vegas Review-Journal journalist, according to the outlet.

Investigative reporter Jeff German was found fatally stabbed outside of his home on the morning of Sept. 3, with police saying they believe he was attacked the previous morning. In the report of his death, Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook said German had never communicated concerns about his personal safety or threats made against him.

On Sept. 6, LVMPD released two images during a news conference, including one of a suspect next to a vehicle. Later that evening, according to the Review-Journal, reporters for the outlet observed Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles in his driveway next to a vehicle matching the description.

German had published a series of investigations into Telles beginning in May which revealed a hostile work environment characterized by bullying, retaliation and an “inappropriate relationship” between Telles and a staffer during his oversight of the public administrator’s office.

On Sept. 7, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department searched Telles’ home and arrested him that evening, according to the Review-Journal.

“The arrest of Robert Telles is at once an enormous relief and an outrage for the Review-Journal newsroom,” Executive Editor Cook said in a statement to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. “We are relieved Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official. Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution. We thank Las Vegas police for their urgency and hard work and for immediately recognizing the terrible significance of Jeff’s killing. Now, hopefully, the Review-Journal, the German family and Jeff’s many friends can begin the process of mourning and honoring a great man and a brave reporter.”

Telles is being held on suspicion of murder and has a court appearance scheduled on Sept. 8, according to online Clark County Jail records reviewed by the Tracker.

As of publication, LVMPD and the Review-Journal could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]