A public elected official has been arrested in connection with the murder of a local veteran reporter in Las Vegas, in a story that feels almost too dramatic to be real.
Robert Telles, the Clark County Public Administrator, had been the focus of the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Jeff German’s reporting for the past year. Last Saturday, German, 69, was found dead outside of his house with multiple stab wounds. On Wednesday, police arrested Telles, after his vehicle matched that of the one connected to the murder.
German had spent the last few months reporting on workplace tensions within Telles’ county office. The allegations against Telles, while not great, didn’t appear to be revenge-murder worthy. German had been covering reports of bullying, hostility, and favoritism in Telles’ office. He wrote that a staffer felt “unsafe” around Telles, after she reported to HR an “inappropriate relationship” he had with another staffer. That was about as controversial as the offenses got.
German, who had worked at the Review-Journal for two decades, stated in his byline that he conducted “reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing.” He also covered organized crime. But the story surrounding Telles’ office was neither organized or criminal, making it even more outlandish that it ended in such a horrific way.
German had reported on a Facebook feud between Telles and his predecessor, John Cahill. At one point Telles had charged on the social media platform, “John, you are just as liable as these people for creating the environment that entitled these people to surveil me the last two years, inside and outside of the office.”
It turns out that Telles was somewhat correct about people surveilling him: The politician was photographed Tuesday washing a dark red SUV—the same car detectives spotted in surveillance footage nearby the crime scene of German’s murder and shared with the public. This, of course, did not look good for him.
Then the Associated Press reported today that Telles’ DNA has been found at the scene of the crime. The Review-Journal executive editor Glenn Cook released a statement saying, “The arrest of Robert Telles is at once an enormous relief and an outrage for the Review-Journal newsroom.”
German’s last article on Telles covered his loss in the June primary to Rita Reid. In the piece, German wrote about a letter Telles posted on his campaign website that “attacked the Review-Journal,” “claimed the allegations against Telles were false,” and “leveled what the employees allege was a threat to retaliate against them for stepping forward.”
Telles was reportedly ill-tempered, but not in a way that made him stand out amongst a sea of discontented politicians, especially ones who are nosediving their way to losing their elected seat in a primary. In that article, German got a quote from Cahill saying that “as soon as he exits the office, things are going to calm down.”
“It will return to a stable operation,” he told German.
Tragically, as we now know, this does not appear to be the case.