To help find Jeff German’s killer, Review-Journal reporters followed the example he set for 40 years. Nothing would have made German, a longtime investigative reporter in Las Vegas who was killed last week, prouder.
On Wednesday evening, Las Vegas police arrested Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles in connection with the slaying of Mr. German. This came just two days after police released a picture of a suspect. On Tuesday, they put out a picture of the suspect’s red GMC Yukon Denali.
“We do need the public’s help,” Capt. Dori Koren said at the time.
Review-Journal journalists took that plea to heart. Late Tuesday afternoon, Review-Journal reporters spotted Mr. Telles at his home next to an SUV that matched the suspect’s vehicle.
The next morning, police searched Mr. Telles’ home and vehicles. When Mr. Telles returned to his home, Review-Journal journalists were there. He refused to answer their questions.
Think of the courage that takes. Here’s a man who appears to have murdered your colleague because he didn’t like Mr. German’s investigative reporting. Now, you’re standing near him and peppering him with questions. That alone should be reason enough to support local journalism.
Police arrested Mr. Telles hours later. At a Thursday news conference, police shared they recovered his DNA at the crime scene. Sheriff Joe Lombardo also credited the Review-Journal as “instrumental” in this case.
“This a terrible and jarring homicide — one that has deeply impacted Las Vegas,” Mr. Lombardo said. “Every murder is tragic, but the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome.”
That’s especially true in Mr. German’s case. Mr. Telles is entitled to his day in court, but this killing appears motivated by Mr. German’s excellent reporting. In May, Mr. German exposed troubling behavior by Mr. Telles in his role as public administrator. After losing his primary election, Mr. Telles lashed out publicly.
Mr. German didn’t blink. He continued to file public records requests with the office. The day he was murdered, he was texting with someone in that office, obtaining another potential scoop. To the end, Mr. German was relentless.
Investigative reporting provides immense value to the community. Journalists must know they can do their jobs without physical threats, especially as they take on the powerful. We thank Mr. Lombardo and Metro for their attention to this case and outstanding work in solving this case so quickly.
Politicians who fear journalists exposing their misdeeds should take heed of this. Reporters and journalists across the country will never back down. Mr. German’s legacy demands nothing less.
—Las Vegas Review-Journal