A court hearing has been set for Tuesday regarding a request by former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles for a judge to release him from custody or set a “reasonable bail.”
Telles, 45, was arrested Sept. 7 in connection with the killing of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, who had reported on Telles and his role as an elected official. Telles has been held in the Clark County Detention Center without bail since his arrest, but public defenders filed a motion on Oct. 10 asking for a judge to either release him on his own recognizance or set his bail at $100,000.
Chief Deputy Public Defender Edward Kane argued in the motion that holding Telles in custody without bail is unnecessary.
“Notably, a detainee poses a flight risk only if, by a preponderance of the evidence, there exists a current indication that they may intentionally evade the criminal justice system,” the motion states. “Here, there is no such indication.”
Telles is scheduled to appear in court again on Tuesday morning, court records show.
German, 69, was found dead of stab wounds outside his Las Vegas home on Sept. 3. Telles is accused of fatally stabbing the journalist on Sept. 2, when surveillance footage captured someone in a bright orange shirt and straw hat walking onto German’s property and attacking German when he came outside, police have said.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly filed an opposition to the defense motion on Thursday. In it, she argued that Telles should not be granted bail.
Prosecutors wrote in the motion that Telles is charged with first-degree murder, although Telles has formally been charged with “open murder,” which is a more general allegation.
A judge can deny bail in a first-degree murder case “if the proof is evident and the presumption is great,” the motion states.
Weckerly also wrote that Telles is a danger to others and himself. When officers arrived at Telles’ home to arrest him, he barricaded himself in the home, “made suicidal statements and injured himself prior to his arrest,” according to the motion. Telles was seen being loaded into an ambulance after his arrest, and officials said he suffered superficial cuts to his arms.
“The State is also concerned that unlike many defendants, Defendant Telles has the means to flee the jurisdiction if he wanted,” the motion states. “For all these reasons, the State has grave concerns about any release of Defendant Telles.”
According to the defense motion, Telles believes his family would be able to help him post a $100,000 bail. Kane also wrote that Telles is not receiving a salary because a district judge granted Clark County’s effort to remove Telles from public office.
Last week, a judge granted a motion from media outlets to release copies of a financial affidavit submitted by Telles before public defenders were appointed to represent him. Telles signed the affidavit on Sept. 20 indicating he did not “have the ability to pay for an attorney.”
Investigators recovered surveillance footage that showed someone arriving at German’s house at 11:18 a.m. on Sept. 2, according to the prosecution document filed Thursday. The person appeared to go through a pedestrian gate before German walked outside minutes later and was attacked.
The person walked away, and six minutes later a maroon GMC Denali parked in front of German’s house, the document states. The suspect got out of the vehicle and approached German’s body before driving away.
Prosecutors wrote that the Denali did not have a license plate, and that it had been in the area since 10:54 a.m.
“Detectives researched vehicles matching the color, make and model of the Denali,” the document states. “The results included one 2007 GMC Denali registered to Mary Ismael,” who is Telles’ wife.
Police released a picture of the vehicle on Sept. 6 and asked for the public’s help in identifying it. That evening, Review-Journal reporters saw a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s SUV parked in Telles’ driveway.
The prosecution document laid out evidence against Telles. For instance, according to the document, items resembling the suspect’s clothing were found at Telles’ home, and Telles is accused of attempting to destroy evidence by cutting up the straw hat.
Prosecutors also wrote that Telles was seen washing the GMC Denali “after the homicide,” and that surveillance footage captured the vehicle leaving his home before the killing and returning after.
“More damning, however, is that DNA consistent with Defendant Telles is under the fingernails of the murder victim, Mr. German,” prosecutors wrote. “The State has concerns for the safety of the community if Defendant Telles were released.”
If you’re thinking about suicide, or are worried about a friend or loved one, help is available 24/7 by calling or texting the Lifeline network at 988. Live chat is available at 988lifeline.org.