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Politician was 'lying in wait' in 'premeditated' slaying of Las Vegas journalist, prosecutors say

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was arrested last week and accused of stabbing Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German multiple times after the journalist published articles about him.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles appears in court Thursday in Las Vegas. John Locher / AP

Nevada politician Robert Telles, the man charged in the “premeditated” killing of a prominent Las Vegas investigative journalist, was “lying in wait” for the reporter, according to prosecutors.

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 45, was arrested Wednesday and booked on a charge of open murder in the death of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, police said.

German, 69, who reported on allegations of bullying and favoritism in Telles’ office, was found stabbed to death outside his home in the Bronze Circle neighborhood on Sept. 3, police said.

A criminal complaint filed Monday in Clark County court shows Telles is charged with murder with the following enhancements: use of a deadly weapon and a victim 60 years of age or older. Such enhancements can result in longer sentences.

The one-page criminal complaint also sheds new light on the killing.

It says Telles killed German on or about Sept. 2 with a knife by stabbing him “multiple times about the body.”  

Jeff German on the Las Vegas Strip
Jeff German on the Las Vegas Strip on June 2, 2021.K.M. Cannon / Las Vegas Review-Journal via Getty Images

The complaint describes the killing as “willful, deliberate, and premeditated.” It says it was “perpetrated by lying in wait” for German and “perpetrated by abuse of an older person.” 

NBC News has asked Telles' attorney for comment.

Detectives homed in on Telles as a suspect because he publicly expressed his anger at German for his reporting, police said. 

“Telles was upset about articles that were being written by German as an investigative journalist that exposed potential wrongdoing, and Telles had publicly expressed his issues with that reporting,” Las Vegas Police Capt. Dori Koren said last week.

“And then ultimately Telles was also upset — from what we found out later — that there was additional reporting that was pending,” Koren added.

Police released video showing a possible suspect wearing a wide straw hat and a bright orange reflective long-sleeve shirt, along with video of a red or maroon GMC Denali driving suspiciously through German’s neighborhood before the Sept. 2 slaying.

Detectives found a vehicle matching that description parked at Telles’ home and registered to his wife.

Investigators searching Telles’ home with a warrant last week found partly destroyed shoes and a hat resembling the suspect’s clothes.

A DNA sample from Telles’ clothes ultimately linked him to the crime scene and prompted his arrest, police said.

Telles’ office oversees the estates of Clark County residents who die without legal next of kin.

German’s reporting about Telles’ office may have played a role in Telles’ losing his job, as he narrowly lost his bid for re-election in the Democratic primary over the summer.

Clark County said in a statement that because Telles is a public administrator in an elected position, his access to county offices and property has been suspended and the administrator's office will be closed until a decision is made, with employees working from home. 

The county said it is “reviewing its options under the law” regarding Telles’ employment status.

Telles was ordered held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center last week.

In a brief court appearance Tuesday morning, a judge postponed his arraignment. Telles, wearing a blue jail uniform, stood in shackles and had bandages on both arms. 

Police said he had self-inflicted wounds, which were non-life-threatening, when he was taken into custody.