top of page

Truth and Consequences-- The Murder of Investigative Journalist Jeff German

Bryn Wright



Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo at a news conference in Las Vegas on Thursday. (John Locher/AP)

The shocking news of the arrest of Clark County Public Administrator, Robert Telles, broke out late Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas. Telles was arrested on suspicion of murder Wednesday evening, in the fatal stabbing of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter, Jeff German. German had been investigating the politician since May, which is why Telles attributes German's work to his election loss. This explosive development came a day after Las Vegas police asked for the public's help in identifying a suspect in the case. The Friday night murder may be related to German’s work exposing public wrongdoing; the investigative reporter was pursuing follow-ups about Telles in the weeks leading up to his murder. At about 6:30a.m. Wednesday morning police arrived at the home of Robert Telles on Spanish Steps Lane in the western valley. They blocked off the nearby streets shortly before 9:00 a.m. police released a statement saying, “they were currently serving search warrants” in connection with the homicide investigation.

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, right, talks with Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German on May 11. (K.M. Cannon/AP)
Robert Telles is a 45-year-old Democrat, who lost his re-election bid in the primary coincidentally after German findings were published. German had also filed public records requests (or FOIAs) for emails and text messages between Telles and the three other county officials: Assistant Public Administrator Rita Reid, Estate Coordinator Roberta Lee- Kennett, and Consultant Michael Murphy. It is believed that Telles is the suspect because of two pieces of surveillance footage that were released to the public to help find the suspect in German’s death. The first image was that of a suspect wearing a wide straw hat, gloves, and a bright reflective orange long-sleeve shirt. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but this sounds a lot like someone who's trying to blend in as a landscaper but also be seen. The second piece of surveillance was the photo of the vehicle which was indicated as a red or maroon GMC Yukon Denali, which Telles was observed standing by outside of his home. The Denali and one other vehicle were towed from the Telles family home during the collection of evidence. Around 2:30 PM in the afternoon Telles returned home in what appeared to be a white hazmat suit. When reporters asked questions, he did not answer them as he entered his garage and closed the door.

Later, the police arrived in tactical gear and surrounded the home while Telles remained inside. It was at this point that officers and Fire Rescue were called from the command center to tend to "self-inflicted wounds and superficial cuts to his arms," from what likely is a panic attack over being caught for his murderous rage over Jeff German. Police set up a command post area in front of Piggott elementary school on Red Hills Road at Silk Tassel Drive, where there were police mobile units and fire rescue personnel. After Telles’ arrest was made public, Police announced that Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Captain Dori Koren would provide an update on their investigation during a news conference on Thursday morning. Currently, court records show that Telles had his first appearance Thursday afternoon. His bail was denied, and he was remanded to custody his next hearing date is scheduled for Tuesday. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson declined to comment on the homicide investigation as of earlier Wednesday.

All of this is related to the months and months of relentless work and investigation by German into Telles’ work environment. This investigation began after a long harassment complaint was filed by a colleague of Telles’. This became the catalyst for German’s deadly interaction with his murderer. Aleshia Goodwin, the Estate Coordinator, filed her complaint with the Clark County Office of diversity, where she provided details of Telles’ alleged extramarital relationship with Roberta Lee-Kennett, the videotaping, and his alleged micromanagement of the full-time workers that was bringing a great divide within the office. German’s story from June 18th revealed that Telles had posted a scathing letter on his election website. The letter ferociously attacked the Review-Journal, and its reporting, and claimed that the allegations against him were false. It also contained what some employees say was a threat to retaliate against them for stepping forward.

German on the Las Vegas Strip in June 2021. (K.M. Cannon/AP)
Jeff German, 69, was found deceased on Saturday morning outside of his NW Las Vegas home, the Metropolitan Police department reported. German’s home is only a mere 6 miles from the home of Robert Telles. The police believed that German was fatally stabbed during an altercation the previous morning. Recounting the timeline of the incident Las Vegas police Capt. Dori Koren said at a news conference “Thursday, German had an altercation with the suspect around 11 a.m. Friday near the side of his home, after which he was stabbed multiple times. Upon a search of Telles’s home, police recovered the pair of shoes and the straw hat that was worn in the previously released surveillance photograph." There was an obvious attempt to destroy evidence because both items were cut. Koren added that Telles’s DNA was a positive match for DNA recovered from the crime scene. German had defensive wounds as well as Telles' DNA under his fingernails; he had been stabbed in a surprise attack several times in the torso and neck area.

German became known for his brilliant investigative work and coverage of high-profile stories on politics and organized crime. He wrote the 2001 true-crime book “Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss,” and he led the paper’s investigation of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern U.S. history. He hosted the Review-Journal podcast “Mobbed Up.” Private services were held for Jeff German on Wednesday, where his family friends, and colleagues could properly grieve and honor him. In remembrance of German, Review-Journal editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez created a piece titled “His light will shine on.” The cartoon shows a typewriter illuminated by the halo of a candle alongside a Bible verse: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
Executive Editor Glen Cook said “we are relieved Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on elected officials. Journalists can't do the important work that our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.” Unfortunately, his is not the only distraught newsroom that has suffered a tragic loss in recent times.

In June of 2021, ABC Alabama reporter Chris Sign (45) was found deceased in his home gym, in an apparent suicide. Sign broke the infamous story regarding the then Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, and Bill Clinton. The 2016 clandestine meeting on the tarmac raised suspicions over the Clinton family yet again, because at the time Hillary Clinton was being investigated for the emails that went missing from the server, that were moved to her private server during her tenure as Secretary of State. If there's anything I know very well, it's to not become an enemy of any of the “Gang of 8”. Over the past several years, I think we can all agree that we’ve heard quite a bit about these missing tens of thousands of emails.

Fifty journalists and media workers worldwide have been killed this year, according to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Those deaths included people who died during dangerous assignments and those who appeared to have been targeted. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might say that people of the truth-telling nature typically want to have the truth out there for everyone to decipher and find ideas for themselves. Given that German was one of the good guys, his history of reporting on controversial topics, and his most recent reporting on Telles, many people would find value in his work and take his valuable words to heart and as truth. My own suspicion is that when Telles learned of the FOIA requests he knew that his time was short-lived before his fantasy life was eviscerated. If we take a step into the mind of a killer, there are things we will need to keep in mind. Telles is innocent until proven guilty. As Americans, we are all permitted our due process rights under the Constitution. We cannot yell and scream in protest when we feel our rights are infringed upon unless we are willing to apply the same standard across the board.

Here is where some questions of mine come into play that will be answered as we go through this investigation of Jeff German’s murder, together. Was German outside his own home, deceased since Friday morning all the way through Saturday in the morning? Was German at work on Friday? Is it usual for people to be in their yards, outside of their own home deceased for any amount of time during daylight hours and not being noticed? I will be following this investigation closely and providing updates as they become available so that we can investigate the truth and consequences together.

135 views0 comments
bottom of page