AP

Official jailed in Vegas reporter killing had 2020 arrest

Sep 13, 2022, 7:29 AM | Updated: 4:54 pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — An elected official accused of killing a Las Vegas investigative journalist in what authorities allege was retaliation for articles critical of him and his office faced court sanctions two years ago for resisting arrest in a domestic violence case, records show.

Robert Telles, the Clark County public administrator who took office in January 2019, accepted a plea agreement in September 2020 to resolve misdemeanor battery and resisting a public officer charges after his wife called 911, according to Las Vegas Municipal Court and police dispatch records.

The records, first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, show the case was dismissed and closed in March 2021 after Telles paid a $418 fine, attended counseling and stayed out of trouble.

His attorney in that case, Ross Goodman, did not immediately respond Tuesday to telephone and email messages. Efforts to contact Telles’ wife, Mae Ismael, by telephone and email were not successful.

Telles, now 45, remains jailed without bail on suspicion of murder in the Sept. 2 slaying of veteran Review-Journal staff writer Jeff German (GEHR-man).

Telles’ attorney, Travis Shetler, asked during a brief Tuesday court appearance for additional time to prepare for Telles’ arraignment, and prosecutors did not oppose the delay. A local judge reset the hearing for Sept. 20.

Shetler did not immediately respond later to messages about the 2020 incident, in which Telles was accused of “grabbing” and placing his wife in a “‘bear-hug’ position” and of resisting efforts by two police officers to handcuff him.

Telles stood in shackles Tuesday wearing bandages on his forearms and a wry smile as he faced a courtroom crowded with reporters, photographers and television cameras. He did not speak to the judge or his attorney.

Police and prosecutors say he had superficial self-inflicted wounds when he was arrested Sept. 7 after a brief standoff with police at his home.

A criminal complaint filed Monday accuses Telles of “lying in wait” for German, who was stabbed seven times. His body was found the next morning.

Telles was arrested days later, after police issued a plea for public help to identify a person seen on security video wearing an orange work shirt and a wide-brim straw hat toting a shoulder bag and walking toward German’s home.

Police also released images of a distinctive SUV seen on video near German’s home, driven by a person wearing an orange shirt.

A Review-Journal photographer snapped photos Sept. 6 of Telles washing the same type of vehicle in his driveway.

A prosecutor told a judge last Thursday that Telles left his own cellphone at home and waited in a vehicle outside German’s home until the attack. It was characterized as a planned response to articles that German wrote about “turmoil and internal dissension” in the county office that handles the property of people who die without a will or family contacts.

After articles appeared in May airing claims of administrative bullying, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a subordinate staffer, Telles lost his bid for reelection in the June primary. County lawmakers also appointed a consultant to address complaints about leadership in the office.

Telles blamed “old-timers” for exaggerating his relationship with the female staffer and falsely claiming that he mistreated them.

German, a 40-year Las Vegas journalist who was widely respected for his tenacity, was working on follow-up reports about Telles and the public administrator’s office when he died, his colleagues said.

“The published articles … ruined (Telles’) political career, likely his marriage, and this was him lashing out at the cause,” Chief Deputy Clark County District Attorney Richard Scow told a judge last week.

That judge, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham, called the police report detailing the attack “chilling.” She spoke of apparent defensive wounds on German’s arms and said DNA believed to be from Telles was found under German’s fingernails.

“He was fighting for his life,” Graham said.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has called German’s death “brutal and meaningless” and said a decision whether to seek the death penalty will be made in coming months.

Police said a search warrant turned up items at Telles’ home including blood-stained shoes and a straw hat that had been cut up. Authorities said they did not immediately find the weapon used to kill German.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, a Republican running for governor in November, said investigators were attempting to enhance security video that he described as “distorted” but that might show the attack.

German joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter covering courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime.

Telles was a lawyer who practiced probate and estate law before he was elected public administrator in 2018, replacing a three-term predecessor.

Telles’ term in office expires Dec. 31, but Clark County officials said he is suspended and has been banned from county offices or property pending a review of his position as an elected official.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

13 hours ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

14 hours ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

2 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

2 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

3 days ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Official jailed in Vegas reporter killing had 2020 arrest