Elected Official's DNA Linked to Death of Investigative Journalist Who Covered Story that 'Exposed Him'

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A Las Vegas-area elected public official was arrested for the fatal stabbing of a veteran newspaper reporter whose investigations of the official's work preceded his primary loss in June.

Clark County Public Administrator Robert "Rob" Telles, a Democrat, was taken into custody at his home by police SWAT officers hours after investigators served a search warrant and confiscated vehicles in the criminal probe of the killing of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German.

Robert Telles and Jeff German
Robert Telles and Jeff German Twitter

The 45-year-old Telles, who faces a charge of open murder with a deadly weapon, appeared in front of a Las Vegas judge for the first time following his arrest. German was found dead with stab wounds outside his home last Saturday morning, as previously reported. Authorities said German was involved in an altercation with another person before his fatal stabbing.

A Trail of Evidence Led Police to Telles

Prosecutors said German was stabbed seven times after someone wearing a bright orange reflector shirt — and a large straw hat — went to the side of the victim's home while carrying a duffle bag.

Investigators later determined that a suspicious red or maroon GMC Denali used by the suspect to flee belonged to Telles and was registered in the wife's name. They also found video showing it had left the home about 9 a.m. the day of the killing, then returned about noon, "which matched our timeline."

Jeff German murder
The photo shows the suspect dressed in an orange shirt with reflective tape and wearing a straw hat approaching German's home on Friday. Twitter

Authorities searched Telles' home and vehicle Wednesday and collected a DNA sample from him. The DNA from German's hands matched Telles' sample.Wounds on German's arms and hands indicate that he likely fought for his life, prosecutors said.

Investigators recovered a pair of Nike shoes detectives seized that had apparent blood on them and were cut "likely in a manner to try to destroy evidence." He also showed a photo of a straw hat cut into five pieces that he said matches the hat worn by the suspected killer.

Telles was Upset Over German's Reporting on Him

Telles, also a licensed attorney, took office as the elected public administrator of Clark County, Nevada, in January 2019, a position tasked with overseeing property for deceased people while a family or estate manager is found. He lost his June party primary to Assistant Public Administrator Rita Reid. Telles' term expires Dec. 31.

Las Vegas police did not speak in detail about a suspected motive for the stabbing on Thursday, although Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Captain Dori Koren said the ongoing investigation has shown that Telles was "very upset" over German's published coverage of him and additional reporting that the journalist was pursuing at the time of his death.

Telles had been a focus of German's reporting about turmoil including complaints of administrative bullying, favoritism and Telles' relationship with a subordinate staffer in the county office. In the weeks before the primary, Telles blamed "old-timers" for exaggerating the extent of his relationship with a female staffer and falsely claiming that he mistreated them.

Telles later posted Twitter complaints about German, the Review-Journal reported, including claims in June that German was a bully who was "obsessed" with him.