Former Clark County State Administrator Robert Telles, charged with the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff Herman, has hired a new attorney to represent him on the murder charge.
Telles first hired defense attorney Ryan Helmick to replace his public defenders in October. He has now hired attorney Damian Sheets to replace Helmik, according to court documents filed Friday.
“He has decided that we should represent him and it is our job to evaluate the case and give our client the best advice and representation we can offer,” Sheets said.
He said it was “normal” for defendants to change lawyers and declined to comment further on the case or why Telles hired him.
Helmik did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Sheets, who graduated from Boyd Law School at UNLV in 2007, is a founding partner of the firm Nevada Defense Group and previously served as a DUI and home battery prosecutor in the city of Henderson, according to the firm’s website.
He has represented clients in high-profile drunk driving cases, including Jordan Barson, who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence resulting in death for crashing a box truck into a group of cyclists in Las Vegas under exposure to methamphetamine, which killed five people.
Telles was initially represented by attorney Travis Shetler until public defenders Edward Kane and David Lopez-Negrete appointed him. Telles then hired a private attorney instead of public defenders a few days after the Review-Journal published an investigation showing he was named spokesperson despite having thousands of dollars worth of assets.
Prosecutors accused Telles of fatally stabbing Herman because of articles he wrote about Telles’ behavior as an elected official and alleges he created a toxic work environment.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday, when the judge is due to consider the Review-Journal’s motion to sanction the Metropolitan Police Department for allegedly failing to properly notify investigators of Herman’s mobile phone search.
Telles remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Tuesday without bail, prison records show.