Prosecutors: DNA under journalist’s fingernails led to arrest of Clark County official
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles made his first court appearance Thursday in connection with the death of a journalist.
Telles, 45, is accused of stabbing and killing Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, 69. German had recently written stories about Telles and was working on an upcoming story on the elected official, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said.
Prosecutors said German was stabbed seven times and was found with defensive wounds to his arms and hands. DNA found under German’s fingernails connected investigators to Telles, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors also said that Telles’ perception that German’s reporting led to the destruction of his political career and marriage led to Telles “lashing out.”
Telles was not granted bail.
“It’s quite chilling as well that the defendant’s DNA is alleged to be recovered from the hands of the victim, presumably at the time he was fighting for his life,” said the judge.
His next hearing was set for Sept. 13, at which time his charges will be formally announced.
The 45-year-old public administrator appeared calm and stoic in demeanor at Thursday’s bail hearing. His eyes darted around the room, but he otherwise stood motionless throughout the hearing. Telles was clad in prison garb and was handcuffed.
New evidentiary details were shared by the prosecutor during the hearing. For one, he said Telles’ cell phone activity happened to stop altogether in the time periods before, during and after the murder.
Additionally, details were also revealed about the nature of German’s injuries.
“The victim, Jeff, comes out of his house and is attacked by the defendant, stabbed seven times,” said prosecutor Richard Scow with the Clark County District Attorney’s office.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson was present at the bail hearing. He said a decision on the death penalty in this case “won’t be made for months, if at all.”
We asked Wolfson, “Does it concern you that this could create a precedent for our society, and our society here in Vegas, that violent retribution toward a journalist is acceptable?”
He replied, “No violence against anyone is acceptable. When someone is violent against a journalist, that takes on a special flare if you will. But this is not the first of its kind. These things have happened throughout this country and other cities. I can remember a journalist being attacked on live television when this journalist was out in the community doing an interview. We’re dealing with human beings, and human beings sometimes act irrationally in desperation.”
We replied, “How you think he found [German’s] address? He was a county employee. Do you suspect he found it through his job?
His response? “I don’t know.”
Given the alleged motive of this crime, many journalists across the country are considering this crime an attack on the freedom of the press. Therefore, we asked Wolfson, “Will that have any bearing when you make the decision about the charges that are being brought towards him? And how many do you anticipate will be brought towards him?”
“So we are still reviewing all of the information,” he replied. “I anticipate a charge of open murder to be filed. Do we consider other charges? Of course we consider things, but as it stands right now, we expect to file a charge of open murder.”
Wolfson said he feels the evidence against Telles is compelling.
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