LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Investigators may have needed more time to make sure they had everything they needed to prosecute Robert Telles, former Clark County District Attorney David Roger said in an interview with 8 News Now’s Heather Mills.
“In any case like this, in any murder case or high profile case, you want to make sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s,” Roger said. “The public wants a quick arrest, I think sometimes investigators want a quick arrest, but you have to make sure you get it right.”
Roger said that if investigators were waiting for DNA evidence that placed Telles at the crime scene, it would make sense to hold off on arresting him.
“Before a suspect is arrested, time is on the prosecutors side,” he said. “Once a person is arrested, there’s a quick timeline, they’re entitled to a preliminary hearing within 15 days, they’re entitled to a trial within 60 days.”
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 45, was arrested Wednesday evening on an open murder charge in connection with the stabbing death of local reporter 69-year-old Jeff German.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police conducted a warrant search on Telles’ home on Wednesday morning, taking a vehicle, hat, and shoes that matched the description of a suspect they were looking for. Shortly after, he was interviewed at Metro headquarters.
Telles was allowed to return home at around 2 p.m. Wednesday, wearing just a white paper suit after police took his clothes for testing. Just after 4 p.m., officers returned to his home to arrest him, leading to a two-hour standoff before he was taken to University Medical Center with self-inflicted stab wounds and later booked into the Clark County Detention center.
“There are rules and laws in place which say that a person can be detained for a certain period of time and once that period of time is over, a decision must be made whether to formally arrest that person,” said current District Attorney Steve Wolfson. “At that time, we felt there was not sufficient evidence to continue to detain him, so we allowed for his release knowing that evidence was literally being developed minute by minute.”
Telles had been the focus of German’s recent reporting that his office was in “turmoil.” German was investigating claims of bullying and a hostile work environment within the Public Administrator’s Office.
German was found dead outside his home on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 3, though police said he was killed the morning before.
Although German was stabbed to death, police said in a media conference Thursday morning that they were still searching for a murder weapon.
According to Roger, they don’t need the murder weapon for the case to move forward with the prosecution.
“It’s not necessary,” he said. “They have video of someone who matches his description, who has a similar gait as him, the fact that that person is seen driving away in a vehicle that appears to be similar to his vehicle… it’s been reported that they have Mr. German’s DNA connected to Telles, if they have Mr. Telles’ DNA under Jeff German’s fingernails, that’s pretty good evidence.”
Sources 8 News Now Investigators that DNA found under German’s fingernails matched Telles’ DNA, which was obtained by the evidence gathered during the search of his home.
In his first court appearance Thursday afternoon, a judge ordered Telles to be held with no bail.
He is expected to appear back in court on Sept. 13, when he will be formally charged. Roger said he wasn’t sure whether more charges would be added, and mentioned that there could be potential for the death penalty as long as there are aggravating circumstances.
“There are some potential aggravating circumstances that could apply, that’s torture and mutilation, and I’d have to look at the autopsy report,” he said. “I don’t know that there are going to be additional charges, the DA at some point will have to determine whether to seek the death penalty.”
Roger was elected District Attorney in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2010.