Trail of evidence led police to German’s alleged assailant
Lombardo: ‘Murder of journalist especially troublesome’
Photos provided by LVMPD of Robert Telles, arrested for the murder of reporter Jeff German; a cut up hat found in his home during a search; and a photo of the suspect wearing a similar hat.
Robert Telles, the elected Clark County official suspected of killing longtime Las Vegas journalist Jeff German, left behind a trail of evidence that led police to his door, according to Metro Police, and landed Telles in the Clark County Detention Center where he faces a charge of open murder with a deadly weapon.
German, an investigative reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and former reporter for the Las Vegas Sun, was discovered dead with stab wounds on Saturday morning outside of his home. His reporting on allegations of inappropriate behavior and favoritism in the Public Administrator’s office may have led to Telles losing his bid for re-election to that post in the June primary. He subsequently disparaged German’s reporting on social media.
Police say they quickly received photos and video, including of the suspect, dressed in an orange shirt with reflective tape and wearing a straw hat, “walking westbound approaching German’s home on Friday, September 2, the day prior to us being notified,” Homicide Captain Dori Koren told reporters. “He approached Mr. German’s home and went to the side of the house shortly after German came outside of the garage door and then went to the side of the house and ultimately an altercation took place between the suspect and the victim.”
Police believe the attack occurred at 11:18 a.m. on Friday. Video obtained by police showed Telles returning to his home around noon that day in a Denali vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle observed near German’s home.
“We executed search warrants early yesterday morning that involved searching Telles, his home, his vehicles, and then also searching his body to collect the DNA sample to compare it to DNA recovered,” Koren said.
Police say they found Telles’s DNA at the crime scene and blood on his shoes during a search of his home Wednesday. They also found cut up remnants of a hat matching the one seen on the suspect in a photo released this week by police, and cut up shoes also matching those seen in the photo.
Police also played a video of the suspect walking toward the crime scene, and disclosed they have video of the attack.
“We have some distorted video associated with the attack and we are in the process of clarifying that video as we speak,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said during a rare appearance at a homicide news conference.
“This has been an unusual case from the beginning – the murder of an investigative journalist and the main suspect, an elected official here in Clark County,” Lombardo said. “This is a terrible and jarring homicide – one that has deeply impacted Las Vegas.”
Lombardo, a Republican who is running for governor and was in Winnemucca on Saturday, according to social media, said he enacted major case protocols upon learning of German’s slaying.
“Major case protocol was first utilized in 2018,” Lombardo said, commending Metro for moving rapidly to identify and arrest the suspect. “The goal is to bring together resources to maximize an investigative effort and ensure timely clear and consistent communication during a high profile investigation.”
Lombardo said while every murder is tragic, “the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome” but he declined to denounce former Pres. Donald Trump’s normalization of violence against reporters. Trump has endorsed Lombardo for governor.
“I think this is probably an inappropriate venue to speculate or opine on that,” Lombardo said. “I think it needs to be stated and noted that it is troublesome because it is a journalist and we expect journalism to be open and transparent and a watchdog for government and when people take it upon themselves to create harm associated with that profession, I think it’s very important that we put all eyes on and address the case appropriately such as we did in this case, with the expediency associated with it.”
Telles was arrested at his home Wednesday evening with non-life threatening self-inflicted wounds. He was taken to University Medical Center for treatment but is now at the Clark County Detention Center. He is not available for media interviews, according to police.
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