Elected official accused of murder could keep $130K job

Southwest

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A public administrator in Clark County, Nevada, who faces an open murder charge could remain in his elected position — with a $130,000-per-year salary — until a new person takes over in January.

Robert Telles, 45, was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German.

The 69-year-old German was found dead outside his home on Sept. 3. He had published several stories about Telles’ office, saying it was in “turmoil,” in the months leading up to his stabbing death last weekend.

Telles’ DNA was discovered under German’s fingernails, sources told Nexstar’s KLAS on Thursday.

Robert Telles appears in a booking photo from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. (LVMPD)

Voters elected Telles as the county’s public guardian in 2019. The county position runs the office that administers a deceased person’s estate if no family is found, or if the family is unable.

That same year, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak appointed him to the Board of Indigent Defense. The board, one of hundreds of advisory boards and committees, removed Telles on Friday, its chair said. A spokesperson for the governor said the governor “had signed paperwork” removing Telles as a voting member of the board on Friday.

As of this week, a county spokesperson said leaders were reviewing their options on how to move forward with Telles’ employment.

“For now, he’s still an elected officer and he’ll get paid while he’s in jail,” Democratic Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom said Friday, adding the only action he believed the commission could take could be to order a recall vote.

That would require a recall petition and other work, including gathering and verifying more than 100,000 signatures. Before Telles’ arrest, an election was already in the works to choose his replacement, since Telles lost his June primary.

“We can take the scope of work away from him, but as far as him having the title and getting the salary, it is that way, because the voters picked him,” Segerblom said.

Telles could also resign.

Judge Elana Lee Graham denied bail for Telles on Thursday. If a judge sets bail and Telles is released pending trial, he will not have access to his office or other county buildings, officials said.

“People don’t need to worry that the place isn’t being run or he’s still running it,” Segerblom said. (Former Clark County coroner Michael Murphy was hired to mend tension in the office earlier this year.)

Police took a sample of Telles’ DNA around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday before searching his home. Detectives then detained Telles and questioned him, releasing him around 2 p.m. and driving him back to his house.

Nevada law states a person can only be detained for an hour without probable cause.

Telles was taken into custody around 6:30 p.m. and was found with superficial wounds. Police also suspect he may have ingested narcotics in an attempt to die by suicide.

An attorney for Telles did not respond to an email Friday.

German’s family has set up a donation page to a local charity in his memory. The family chose Three Square, which helps people dealing with food insecurity.

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