Las Vegas Journalist’s Murder Suspect Indicted – Update
Posted on: October 20, 2022, 03:00h.
Last updated on: October 21, 2022, 11:04h.
A grand jury indicted former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles on Thursday for the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German.
Telles, 45, was indicted on one count of murder with a deadly weapon against a victim who is 60 or older. He is accused of fatally stabbing German, 69, who had reported on Telles and his role as an elected public official for the newspaper.
EARLIER: Robert Telles, the former Clark County Public Administrator suspected of murdering Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, now also stands accused of potential funds misappropriation. A Nevada Supreme Court order filed Wednesday says recent trust account transfers from Telles “suggest potential mishandling or misappropriation of client funds.”
Dan Hooge, general counsel for the State Bar of Nevada, told German’s former newspaper that between January 1 and February 28, Telles withdrew more than $195K from an account designated for money from his clients in private practice. “We don’t know where it went, exactly,” Hooge said.
The court order temporarily suspends Telles from practicing law “pending the resolution of formal disciplinary proceedings against him.” Though Telles’ bio and photo have been removed from Clark County’s website, he still technically holds his elected position until its term expires on Jan. 2, 2023.
Telles is accused of “willful, deliberate, and premeditated” murder after “lying in wait” outside German’s Las Vegas house on September 2. He faces life in prison.
German was stabbed seven times, resulting in his death. Prosecutors said the act was motivated by previous stories German had published about Telles and another story that was in the works. Investigators said DNA found under German’s fingernails matched samples taken from Telles, which led to his arrest.
German, 69, who covered public corruption, previously exposed complaints about Telles’ workplace misconduct from current and former staffers. This included allegations of a hostile work environment and an alleged “inappropriate relationship” Telles had with a subordinate.
The Public Administrator had been running for reelection when German’s stories were first published. He lost a primary in June.
Telles is being represented by two taxpayer-funded attorneys from the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, though it’s unclear as to whether he truly lacks the funds to pay for his own attorneys, according to an investigation currently being conducted by the R-J.
According to standards set by the Nevada Supreme Court in 2008, a public defender can be assigned to any defendant who is indigent, which is defined as being “unable, without substantial hardship to himself or his dependents, to obtain competent, qualified legal counsel on his or her own.”
Though Telles filed papers with the court on September 20 claiming indigency, he also noted that he and his wife were earning $20,500 per month before his arrest, according to the Review-Journal report. The R-J further notes the couple owns five rental properties in Arkansas along with a Las Vegas home valued at nearly $600K, according to Zillow.
Telles purchased five homes in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for $332K on Dec. 30, 2019, according to property records reviewed by the R-J. The homes are now worth at least $389K, the paper reports, noting that Telles did take a $286K mortgage to purchase them.
The Review-Journal, which obtained a copy of the Telles’ financial disclosure, reported that the defendant checked the box next to “currently incarcerated” as his only qualification for free legal assistance, though several reasons were listed as options. The paper notes that Telles’ application for a public defender says he hasn’t received any income from the Arkansas rental properties. Hot Springs city officials said the properties aren’t licensed for short-term rental.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Telles’ wife, Mary Ann Ismael, works as a senior consultant at Talent Function. She earns approximately $10,500 per month, the paper reports.
On Tuesday, a judge denied a request from Telles’ public defenders to grant him bail of $100K, which they said Telles believed his family would be able to help him pay. Telles remains in the Clark County Detention Center, scheduled to appear in court again on October 26.
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