Police: Teenagers Killed Teacher With Baseball Bat

Iowa judge unseals details included in search warrant filing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 23, 2022 5:29 PM CDT
Iowa Judge Unseals Details in Case of Slain Teacher
Jeremy Goodale and Willard Miller appear in court at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Fairfield, Iowa, in November.   (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP, File)

Two southeast Iowa teenagers used a baseball bat last fall to kill their high school Spanish teacher, and one of them described in social media posts how they followed the woman, carried out the attack, and hid her body, police allege in court documents publicly released Tuesday. A judge on Tuesday rejected defense lawyers' requests that the media be excluded from a hearing later this week at which the teens will seek to be tried in the juvenile system rather than in adult court. Details about the case were included in search warrant information that had been sealed by a judge until this week, the AP reports.

Jeremy Goodale and Willard Miller, both 16, are charged with murder in the death of Fairfield High School Spanish teacher Nohema Graber, 66. Her body was found Nov. 3, hidden under a tarp at the Chautauqua Park in Fairfield, about 95 miles southeast of Des Moines. She had been reported missing earlier that day. The documents state that a witness who knew Goodale showed police Goodale's Snapchat messages that indicated Miller and Goodale "were involved in the planning, execution, and disposal of evidence" related to Graber’s death. Goodale's messages described how he and Miller conducted surveillance on Graber, how she was killed, where her body was located, where her car was parked, and how the teens disposed of and concealed evidence.

Included in the messages was that a baseball bat was used to kill Graber. Court documents said the teacher suffered "inflicted trauma to the head." Many details remain concealed from public view, including an alleged motive. Attorneys for the teens have asked the court to keep most information about the evidence under seal. Goodale and Miller are charged as adults as required by Iowa court procedures, which say anyone 16 or over charged with a forcible felony is automatically waived to adult court "and is subject to the same criminal procedures and penalties as adults." The judge scheduled the trial for Goodale for Aug. 23 and Miller's for Nov. 1.

(Read more homicide stories.)

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