Jeff German: A Journalist Found Dead at the Hands of a Politician

Photo courtesy of Campbell Jensen on

Amanda Salanitri, Staff Writer

On Saturday, September 3, Las Vegas investigative journalist Jeff German was found dead outside of his home. Evidence collected by the police pointed to politician Robert Telles as the murderer. While Telles has since been arrested and denied bail as the investigation continues, many of German’s colleagues, readers, and peers are left in shock, concerned for the future of the freedoms the press hold.

German, a 69-year-old reporter for Las Vegas Review-Journal, has a style of journalism that lends itself to classic practices of reporting, known as ‘shoe leather’ reporting, which refers to the on-foot action of walking to various sources and conducting interviews first-hand to confirm facts or leads no one else has discovered. German’s work typically involves bringing light to the affairs of Las Vegas that go unspoken–such as mobsters, casino titans, corrupt politicians, and other instances of power being misused in the aptly named Sin City.

While German was dedicated to doing the right thing as a journalist, he was familiar with the risks and hardships people face around the world in delivering news to the people. For instance, German had once needed stitches when someone he was interviewing had punched him in the face. However, German had not expected the events that would unfold over time after deciding to write a story about Robert Telles. 

In the past spring of this year, German had been contacted by sources that shared the troubles of their office of public administration. With the title of Clark County Public Administrator, Telles was the boss of a department that handled the estates of recently deceased people without a will. In the next few months, German compiled more sources and published an article in May of this year. The details of the story consisted of the unhealthy work environment established by Telles, with accounts describing Telles causing the employees headaches from stress, giving them unreasonable assignments to complete, and conducting an inappropriate relationship with an employee. 

Upon being published, the article was far from being widespread or headlining the front of any newspaper–in part due to the public administration office being unknown to the majority of readers. However, the public administration office has since gained a consultant to resolve the office turmoil, and the effect that this article had on Telles put his position in jeopardy. In June, Telles had lost a Democratic primary campaign to be re-elected as a public administrator in Las Vegas and he began to share his criticisms of the article and German on Twitter and his website, claiming the article was a smear piece. 

German hadn’t expected the situation to escalate and brushed off Telles’ reaction to the article. However, on the Friday morning of September 2, Telles drove to German’s house and initiated a physical confrontation. German was found the next day with multiple stab wounds, and police along with many colleagues of German’s began an investigation. 

The security cameras of German’s neighbors show the murderer wearing an orange construction vest and a large straw hat covering their face, similar to what nearby construction workers were wearing at the time. However, after conducting a search of Telles’ house, police found a hat and shoes that match the individual in the surveillance footage, with both recovered articles being cut up and the shoes having blood on them. Additional evidence from the police confirms that Telles’ DNA was found at the crime scene, being linked to the sample under German’s fingernails. Plus, no murder weapon has been recovered from the scene by the police. Other details surrounding the case include a car registered by Telles’ wife, which was seen on neighborhood surveillance videos to be in front of Telles’ house before and after the murder. During the murder, the car was seen in front of German’s house. 

In the days following the murder, Telles was arrested and ignored the reporters present. On September 8th, Telles appeared in court with bandages on both arms, with police saying that he had harmed himself before being taken into custody. As the investigation continues, Telles has been denied bail and will remain in jail, with future court appearances. 

German’s colleagues, while mourning their friend, aim to carry out a thorough investigation into German’s murder.