Two Iowa teens are being accused of the brutal murder of their Spanish teacher — apparently over grades??
Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale were charged with first-degree murder of their high school Spanish teacher, Nohema Graber, last November, and now, one year later, prosecutors believe they may have identified a potential motive.
The 17-year-olds (both 16 at the time of the killing) allegedly murdered 66-year-old Graber after Miller met with her to discuss his poor grade in her class at Fairfield High School in the small town of Fairfield, Iowa on November 2 of last year. According to prosecutors, the teens waited for their Spanish teacher at a local park where she was known to take daily walks after school and ambushed her — allegedly beating her to death with a baseball bat. Graber’s body was found a day later in a wheelbarrow, hidden under a tarp and railroad ties. Witnesses claim to have seen her van leaving the park — only with two males in the front seats. The van was later left at the end of a rural road, and another witness claimed to have picked the teens up on the very same road after receiving a call from them. Seems like quite the trail of evidence…
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According to the Associated Press, new court documents reveal a police interview with Miller, who allegedly expressed his disdain with Graber’s teaching style, referring to her as an “a**hole.” Now, Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding and Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown are claiming in a new legal filing:
“The poor grade is believed to be the motive behind the murder of Graber which directly connects Miller.”
Furthermore, the prosecutors claimed that after initially denying involvement in Graber’s disappearance, Miller told police he “had knowledge of everything but did not participate,” claiming, “a roving group of masked kids” forced him to provide his wheelbarrow to help move her body.
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Snapchat messages which “identify Goodale’s admissions that he acted in concert with another person to bring about Graber’s death,” also helped confirm the two boys “were involved in the planning, execution, and disposal of evidence.” But now Miller’s attorney, Christine Branstad, is asking the court to invalidate the search warrants and discard the information acquired by his cell phone, Snapchat, and the police interview in which Miller admitted to having knowledge of the crime. Branstad claims the warrants were issued illegally because:
“Law enforcement failed to provide information to the issuing magistrate to show the informant is reliable or that the information from the informant should be considered reliable.”
The teens are both set to be tried as adults, with Goodale’s trial beginning December 5 in Davenport, and Miller’s March 20 in Council Bluffs. In Iowa, the penalty for first-degree murder is life in prison, but Supreme Court rulings mandate minors always be given a chance for parole.
All over a bad grade? Chilling. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments (below).
[Images via Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office & Fairfield Police Department]