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Judge reschedules hearing on Telles’ job status

Updated September 28, 2022 - 11:45 am

A District Court hearing to possibly remove accused murderer Robbert Telles as the Clark County public administrator Wednesday was pushed back a week.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson last week “set the process in motion” to remove the elected official from office. Telles is accused of killing veteran Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, 69, outside the journalist’s home earlier this month.

The delay would allow Telles’ defense to file a response to the motion, attorney Travis Shetler told the Review-Journal after the hearing, in which Telles made a brief appearance.

Shetler said he wanted the defense in writing because he expects the losing side to appeal. Removing Telles from office this way when his client hasn’t been convicted is “not the right mechanism,” the attorney said.

“We are alleging that he is neglectful in his duties as the public administrator,” Wolfson said when he announced the county’s intention to remove the public administrator, noting that Telles hasn’t been able to perform his duties since his Sept. 7 arrest. “We’re seeking an order from the court of his removal from office.”

District Judge David Jones presided over the civil matter during a morning hearing.

If the 45-year-old is removed from office, the Clark County commission could then appoint his replacement. That person would then serve until a new public administrator, who will be elected in November, begins their term in January.

Telles lost his June Democratic primary, and it is believed a series of German-authored stories contributed to his ouster.

German, who spoke to current and former staffers of the public administrator’s office, outlined their allegations of bullying and favoritism from Telles within the department. The investigative reporter was working on a follow-up story around the time of his death.

German was fatally stabbed Sept. 2 and was found the next morning.

The Metropolitan Police Department said that investigators identified Telles as a person of interest early in the probe in part because he had publicly lashed out against German after the stories were published. Police said they recovered Telles’ DNA on German’s body. At Telles’ house, they found bloodied cut-up sneakers and a large hat that were similar to those the alleged killer — who was spotted on surveillance footage — wore in an apparent effort to disguise himself as a day laborer, police said.

Telles, who refused to discuss the case in an interview from the Clark County Detention Center with the Review-Journal, is being held without bail.

Telles has since been charged with murder with enhancements of use of a deadly weapon and victim being an older person, which can lead to a longer sentence if he’s convicted.

While Telles is still the public administrator, a position that pays about $120,000 a year, the county said it had taken steps to limit his powers. Before German’s killing, Telles’ staff was ordered to no longer report to him, Clark County said. Afterward, he was barred from county facilities.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.