The person within the surveillance footage has a duffel bag slung over his shoulder and a straw hat shielding his face as he saunters alongside a Las Vegas sidewalk. It’s late final Friday morning and he’s heading west towards the house of one of many metropolis’s most famed investigative journalists.
Hours later, authorities responding to a 911 name discovered Jeff German — a veteran reporter who lined organized crime and political corruption for the Las Vegas Overview-Journal — slumped lifeless exterior his dwelling. He’d been stabbed to demise.
Police shortly zeroed in on two theories. Maybe, they thought, it was a housebreaking gone incorrect? Did it have one thing to do with the maroon SUV noticed on surveillance making a number of stops within the neighborhood quickly earlier than German was killed? Or had somebody focused the reporter for one thing he had printed — or was about to publish — about them?
Working on the latter assumption, authorities started digging into Robert Telles, a high public official within the area, who misplaced a main election in June, weeks after German printed an exposé detailing the hostile work atmosphere throughout Telles’ time in management on the Clark County public administrator’s workplace.
On Tuesday night,Overview-Journal reporters staked out close to Telles’ dwelling noticed the official in his driveway, standing subsequent to an SUV that matched the outline of the getaway automotive. The following day, Telles, 45, was arrested on suspicion of homicide.
Investigators on Thursday mentioned that objects worn by the suspected killer — together with the straw hat, which had been lower up into small items — had been recovered from Telles’ dwelling. In addition they mentioned they discovered the general public official’s DNA on the scene of the deadly stabbing.
Telles was charged with homicide Thursday. He didn’t enter a plea and couldn’t be reached for remark to reply to the allegations.
“The killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo mentioned in asserting the arrest of the elected administrator. “We hope the arrest of Telles and subsequent prosecution will ultimately provide a sense of justice for our community and Mr. German’s family.”
The reporter’s relations mentioned in an announcement that they had been shocked, devastated and offended.
“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 mentioned. “Jeff was committed to seeking justice for others and would appreciate the hard work by local police and journalists in pursuing his killer.”
Throughout a information convention Thursday, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Capt. Dori Koren informed reporters that Telles was upset about articles German had printed, in addition to a brand new piece he was planning to write down.
In Could, the veteran journalist printed an investigative piece based mostly on interviews with a number of present and former staff on the Clark County public administrator’s workplace — portray an image of an workplace in disarray, detailing allegations of bullying, favoritism and an inappropriate relationship between Telles and a subordinate.
Together with the article, the newspaper printed a video filmed by different staffers who had secretly recorded Telles and the subordinate — each married — within the again seat of her automotive. In addition they included a video of a recorded, sit-down interview between German and Telles.
German, who’s off digicam, asks Telles what he thinks when he hears individuals elevating allegations of an improper relationship together with his subordinate. Telles’ lips tighten and he squints.
“Obviously it’s not true,” he says. “I’m about nothing but justice, fairness and just being a good person, and it sickens me.” He pauses for a second, sighs and lifts his eyebrows.
“I don’t know,” he says, “it’s unreal.”
After the primary story was printed, Telles wrote a weblog put up on his marketing campaign web site, calling the Las Vegas Overview-Journal a “rightwing paper” and stating “the article was false.”
“So ugly that you almost had to believe it was true,” Telles wrote, saying that there have been a number of investigations being performed into “all the actors in this matter.”
By June it was clear that Telles believed he would lose the Democratic main and his public workplace.
German reported on Twitter that Telles was “losing and lashing out.” In mid-June, German once more reached out to Telles.
“Rob, I’m putting together another story on your office,” he texted the general public official, asking him for remark and noting that staff had seen the weblog put up, perceived it as a risk of retaliation and reported it to human sources.
Telles posted the texton Twitter on June 17 and claimed the reporter “made a veiled threat to make me take down my site with the truth.” The screenshot, nonetheless, contained no request or risk.
Two days later, on his marketing campaign website, Telles accused German and one other public official of “trying to drag me through the mud.” On June 18 — the day German printed the article concerning the weblog put up being reported to the county’s human sources division — Telles posted a thread of tweets.
“Looking forward to lying smear piece #4 by @JGermanRJ,” he tweeted. “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 like it’s @JGermanRJ going through our trash for his 4th story on me. ‘Oh, Jeff…’”
“Typical bully,” Telles tweeted a number of days later. “You’d think he’d have better things to do.” On the finish of the tweet, he added a winking-face emoji with its tongue protruding.
In accordance with the Las Vegas Overview-Journal, German was engaged on a brand new story about Telles the week he was killed.
However the newspaper’s government editor has mentioned that German hadn’t communicated any issues over his security to the paper’s management crew.
Koren, the police captain, mentioned that on the day of the slaying, German got here out of his storage and went to the facet of the house, the place he and the assailant had an altercation that ended when the attacker stabbed the reporter repeatedly.
Investigators executed search warrants Wednesday morning on Telles’ dwelling and vehicles, together with the maroon SUV registered to his spouse, and picked up a DNA pattern from him. Inside his dwelling, investigators recovered a pair of grey footwear matching these of the suspect within the video, they mentioned.
On Wednesday afternoon — hours earlier than he was arrested — reporters exterior Telles’ dwelling spotted him standing exterior his storage wearing a white hazmat swimsuit and flip-flops.
“Did you do this?” one reporter requested. He ignored the query and closed the storage. That night, when a particular weapons crew entered his dwelling to arrest him, they seen he had self-inflicted wounds and wanted medical remedy, authorities mentioned. He was wheeled out on a stretcher.
Telles — who stays in workplace till December — appeared in court docket briefly on Thursday. He was wearing a brown jailhouse shirt, together with his arms cuffed in entrance of him and his arms bandaged.
A Clark County prosecutor requested that Telles be held with out bail, arguing that he was lashing out “at the unraveling of his life.” The decide agreed to no bail, noting that German had fought for his life and acquired a number of defensive wounds.
Earlier than becoming a member of the Overview-Journal in 2010, German spent a lot of his profession writing for the Las Vegas Solar, the place he lined courts, politics, labor, authorities and arranged crime, based on his biography.
He additionally wrote a 2001 organized-crime e book, “Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss,” and was the author and host for the second season of the Overview-Journal’s true-crime podcast “Mobbed Up: The Fight for Vegas.”
Las Vegas Overview-Journal Govt Editor Glenn Cook dinner mentioned German’s “bread and butter” was “breaking big stories,” with lots of his investigations resulting in important reforms.
“Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require,” Cook dinner mentioned in an announcement to his newspaper Wednesday, “if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.”