Disgraced Las Vegas politician Robert Telles was seen smiling in court on Tuesday as prosecutors officially charged him with “lying in wait” outside Jeff German’s home before he stabbed the investigative journalist at least seven times.
Telles, 45, has been charged with open murder with the use of a deadly weapon for the Sept. 2 killing of German outside of his Las Vegas home. In a criminal complaint filed in Clark County Monday, prosecutors alleged that Telles was “willful, deliberate and premeditated” as he targeted the 69-year-old. German had written several articles about Telles’ alleged misconduct as county public administrator, a post for which he had recently lost a bid for re-election.
The public official, who is still technically being paid for his role before his tenure is up in December, was seen standing at the doorway of a Clark County courtroom for his arraignment on Tuesday, smiling with bandages wrapped around his forearms. During the brief hearing, Telles’ lawyers asked for a continuance—meaning he will be back in court next Tuesday.
Telles is currently being held without bond in Clark County Jail and faces a sentence of life in prison. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told reporters outside the courtroom that prosecutors plan to ask for a “very high” bail and that Telles “poses a flight risk and danger to the community.”
Criminal defense attorney Ozzie Fumo, who was asked to help authorities coax Telles out of his home on Wednesday to surrender, told The Daily Beast that he went to go see Telles in jail on Saturday.
“He was still on suicide watch,” Fumo said via text message on Monday. “I only spent a few minutes with him. I confirmed with him that he gave Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department my name to contact me. I explained to him that I would be unable to represent him his case.”
Telles’ defense attorney, Travis Shetler, could not be reached for comment.
While prosecutors are still sketching out a complete motive, Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Scow linked German’s reporting on Telles to the killing during a hearing last week.
“The published articles regarding a public figure, the public administrator’s office, ruined [Telles’] political career, likely his marriage, and this was him lashing out at the cause,” Scow said.
Las Vegas Metro Police Department Captain Dori Koren added last week that “Telles was upset about articles that were being written by German as an investigative journalist that exposed potential wrongdoing, and Telles had publicly expressed his issues with that reporting.” “And then ultimately Telles was also upset—from what we found out later—that there was additional reporting that was pending,” Koren said.
The sordid saga that sent shockwaves throughout Las Vegas and the journalistic community began around 11:18 a.m. on Sept. 2. The complaint states surveillance footage shows a suspect in a straw hat and reflecting shirt entering German’s pedestrian gate. Minutes later, German’s garage door opens and he is seen walking out.
“German approached the pedestrian gate and was immediately attacked,” an arrest report for Telles states. “German fell to the ground and never got back up.”
The report adds that “the suspect stood up and calmly walked east, away from [German’s] residence.” Authorities believes that Telles was wearing a disguise “to conceal his identity and avoid implication in the murder.”
A medical examiner concluded that German sustained seven stab wounds and had defense marks on his arms and hands. The arrest report also notes that Telles’ DNA was found under the journalists’ fingernails.
One neighbor, Jay Sabs, previously told The Daily Beast that his home-security camera captured the man police identified as Telles pacing back and forth outside of his home around the time of the murder at the northwest corner of Bronze Circle and Wintergreen Drive. Sabs added that the footage showed a maroon Yukon—which authorities eventually linked to Telles—passing his house. A man is also seen on the footage pacing for about 1src to 15 minutes.
The arrest report states that when cops spoke to Telles’ wife, she said that on the day of the incident, she couldn’t get a hold of him on his cell phone.
Telles was questioned by police last Wednesday, voluntarily turning over clothing to investigators. Wolfson told reporters that after the conversation, investigators “rushed” a test on his DNA.
Telles was arrested that night after an hours-long standoff during which he barricaded himself in his home and police called Fumo to help coax their man to surrender. Telles sustained “self-inflicted wounds” during the incident and was briefly treated at a local hospital.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-8srcsrc-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. You can also text or dial 988.