According to court documents Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale attended Fairfield High School in Des Moines Iowa. Willard was upset that his Spanish teacher Nohema Graber had given him a bad mark which resulted in his GPA being lowered.
Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale would stalk Nohema Graber for days learning the teachers patterns. On the day of the murder the two sixteen year old teen killers would ambush Graber at the Chautauqua Park. The woman would be dragged into the bush and beaten to death
Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale would be arrested and convicted
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Jeremy Goodale is expected to be sentenced to life with no parole for 25 years however his sentencing continues to be delayed
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One of two Iowa teens who pleaded guilty to murdering a Spanish teacher over a bad grade was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years.
According to the Associated Press, CBS News and USA Today, Willard Miller, 17, received his sentence Thursday. Both he and another teen, Jeremy Goodale, 18, pleaded guilty in April for the first-degree murder in the death of Spanish teacher Nohema Graber, 66, who was a mother of three.
“I find that your intent and actions were sinister and evil,” District Court Judge Shawn Showers said while sentencing Miller, the AP reports. “Those acts resulted in the intentional loss of human life in a brutal fashion. There is no excuse.”
“Your horrific actions led to the death of Nohema Graber, and her family will never be able to fill that void,” Showers also told Miller, per USA Today.
Both Miller and Goodale were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit forcible felony in connection with Graber’s 2021 death, and the teens were set to be tried as adults. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors recommended 30 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole for Miller.
Goodale is scheduled to be sentenced later this year. Prosecutors recommended that he would be eligible for parole after 25 years, according to USA Today.
On Nov. 2, 2021, Miller met with Graber at Fairfield High School to discuss his grade, which he said was lowering his GPA, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint obtained by the Des Moines Register.
Later that day, Graber drove her van to nearby Chautauqua Park, where she went for daily afternoon walks, authorities said.
Prosecutors alleged Miller and Goodale — who were both 16 at the time — stalked her and learned her daily routines, and then ambushed her at the park, the AP reports.
Less than an hour later, witnesses saw the van leaving the park — with two males in the front seat, the Register reports.
The following day, Graber’s body was found in the park under a tarp, a wheelbarrow and railroad ties, where authorities said the teens had dragged her body and hidden it. Grabber’s van was abandoned on a desolate road the teens used to walk back to town, authorities said.
She suffered “inflicted trauma to the head,” according to court documents obtained by The Ottumwa Courier.
Miller initially said he had nothing to do with his teacher’s disappearance, saying later that he knew about it “but did not participate,” according to court documents, the Register reports.
Goodale told authorities Miller first struck Graber with the bat and that he was the lookout, prosecutors said, KCCI 8 reports. Goodale said he struck her with the bat after the first hit failed to kill her, prosecutors said.
Before he was sentenced Thursday, Miller apologized to Graber’s family for the killing and accepted responsibility.
“I would like to apologize for my actions, first and foremost to the family,” said Miller, per the AP. “I am sincerely sorry for the distress I have caused you and the devastation I have caused your family.”
Several of Graber’s relatives read victim impact statements and accused Miller and Goodale of the recent death of Graber’s husband, who had cancer but postponed his treatment because he was depressed over his wife’s murder.
“I hope you open your soul to the Lord and maybe ask for forgiveness there first, because you’re on a spiral straight to hell,” Jim Graber, Nohema Graber’s brother-in-law, said to Miller, the AP reports.