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“Police alleged Thursday that a top Las Vegas official killed investigative reporter Jeff German because of critical stories the journalist had written as well as a new piece he was planning to write.
Las Vegas Metro police arrested Clark County public administrator Robert Telles on suspicion of murder in the Sept. 2 death of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter German after recovering items from the elected official’s home that authorities said were worn by the killer.
Police said they also tied Telles to a vehicle driven to the scene of the crime and found his DNA at the scene of the fatal stabbing.
“Telles was upset about articles that were being written by German as an investigative journalist that expose potential wrongdoing, and Telles had publicly expressed his issues with that reporting,”
Las Vegas Metro police Capt. Dori Koren said. “And then ultimately, Telles was also upset from what we found out later that there was additional reporting that was pending.”
The slaying “has deeply impacted Las Vegas. … The killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said in announcing the arrest.
“We hope the arrest of Telles and subsequent prosecution will ultimately provide a sense of justice for our community and Mr. German’s family.”
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The reporter’s family members said in a statement they were “shocked, saddened and angry about his death.”
“Jeff was a loving and loyal brother, uncle and friend who devoted his life to his work exposing wrongdoing in Las Vegas and beyond,” they said. “Jeff was committed to seeking justice for others and would appreciate the hard work by local police and journalists in pursuing his killer.”
German’s body was found with multiple stab wounds Saturday morning near his house. Investigators believe he was killed a day before. Telles, 45, who publicly feuded with German, became the focus of the probe fairly quickly, police said.
“Some of the other things that were developed pretty quickly by our homicide investigators was that the suspect … was wearing an orange shirt with reflective stripes, a straw hat and was carrying a duffel bag,” Koren said.
Officials said the outfit was an attempt at disguise, but the suspect was caught on security cameras walking to and from the crime scene.
Koren said that German came out of the garage and went to the side of his home,
where he and the assailant had an altercation that ended when the attacker repeatedly stabbed the reporter around 11:18 a.m. Friday.
to eliminate a potential burglar or other criminals as the suspect, investigators focused on German’s work and who might have had a motive to kill him.
Telles lost a primary election in June after German’s stories reported allegations of bullying, favoritism and an inappropriate relationship between him and a subordinate.
The county official had publicly accused German of being a “bully” and running a “smear” campaign against him.
In mid-June, German again reached out to Telles for comment on the blog post for another article.
“Rob, I’m putting together another story on your office,” he texted the public official, asking him for comment because employees had seen the blog post as a
“threat of retaliation and have reported it to Human resources.”
Telles posted the text on Twitter on June 17 and claimed the reporter “made a veiled threat to make me take down my site with the truth.”
The screenshot, however, contained no request or threat.
“I think he’s mad that I haven’t crawled into a hole and died.”
He followed up: “Wife hears rustling in the trash Her: ‘Honey, is there a wild animal in the trash?” Me: ‘No, dear. Looks ilke it’s @JGermanRJ going through our trash for his 4th story on me,” he wrote on Twitter on June 18.
“Oh shoot,” he tweeted. “I left a pizza box and sushi containers in the trash. In the next article, I’m going to have mob and yakuza ties,” he wrote…”