Prosecutors reportedly believe teenagers killed their high school Spanish teacher — brutally ambushing her during her daily walk at a park — because one of them got a bad grade.
This information comes out as an attorney for Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 17, tries to suppress the result of a search warrant that helped tie her client to murdering Nohema Graber, 66, according to The Associated Press.
Miller’s trial is scheduled to begin March 20, 2023, records show. Co-defendant Jeremy Everett Goodale, 17, is set for trial to begin this upcoming Dec. 5. He had successfully filed to sever their cases. Although both defendants were 16 at the time of the Graber’s death, they will be tried as adults.
Joining @LawCrimeNetwork this am as we go live in the suppression hearing for two Iowa High School students accused of the brutal murder of their Spanish teacher. The alleged motive? she gave one of the teens a bad grade. #NohemaGraber pic.twitter.com/ZEmmXmvoPQ
— Julie Rendelman (@jrendelmanlaw) November 2, 2022
As previously reported, Graber was found dead in Chautauqua Park, in Fairfield, Iowa, on Nov. 3, 2021. This was mere hours after she was reported missing. Someone had hidden her under a tarp, wheelbarrow, and railroad ties. Authorities believe Miller and Goodale beat her to death with a baseball bat.
“To know Nohema was to love her — she was the kind of person every community longs to have in its midst and we were blessed to have her in our lives,” her family said in a statement last year. “She lived for her children, her family and her faith. Her next priorities were her job as an educator and the children she taught, her local Parish, and the Spanish-speaking community in Fairfield. The family deeply appreciates the outpouring of support during this unimaginable tragedy.”
“My heart goes out to the family, friends, colleagues, and students that are dealing with this tragic murder of Nohema Graber,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said. “Ms. Graber touched countless children’s lives through her work as an educator across our state by sharing her passion of foreign language.”
Hundreds sing Amazing Grace at Nohema Graber’s memorial service in Fairfield. @KCCINews pic.twitter.com/8lkYgF3tVT
— Laura Terrell KCCI (@LTerrellKCCI) November 10, 2021
The state’s account is that Miller had gotten a bad grade in her class, according to the AP.
“The poor grade is believed to be the motive behind the murder of Graber which directly connects Miller,” court documents reportedly said.
They met on Nov. 2, 2021. Graber later went to the park for her routine walk. But when her van left les than an hour later, there were two people (both male) in the front, witnesses reportedly said. The vehicle was left on a rural road. Goodale allegedly called someone who picked up both him and Miller.
A witness gave investigators pictures of a Snapchat conversation of Goodale allegedly admitting “he acted in concert with another person” to kill Graber.
Miller allegedly said “he had knowledge of everything but did not participate.”
He claimed that a “roving group of masked kids” actually killed Graber and forced him to give up his wheelbarrow to move the remains and to drive her van away from the park, according to the AP.
Prosecutors have said that the pair stalked Graber to keep an eye on her pattern of life.
Miller’s attorney Christine Branstad reportedly wants to suppress evidence from his home as well as his statements to police, information from his cell phone, and also Snapchat. As part of her attempt to strike down the results of four search warrants, the lawyer argued investigators failed to show the magistrate judge their informant was reliable or that the information should be treated as reliable.
[Image of Graber via City of Fairfield, Iowa; Willard Noble Chaiden Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale via Jefferson County Jail]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]