Iowa students Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale killed teacher Nohema Graber over bad grades


Two Iowa high school students allegedly killed their Spanish teacher last year in revenge for a bad grade she gave one of the teenagers in their class, prosecutors revealed in court documents on Tuesday.

The new details shed light on a possible motive for the first time since Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale were arrested in the small town of Fairfield on November 2, 2021 and charged with the murder of their 66-year-old teacher, Nohema Graber.

Miller had met with Graber at Fairfield High School to discuss his poor grades in her class on the afternoon of her murder, investigators found.

Later that day, the teacher drove her van to a park where she is known to go for a daily after-school stroll, authorities said.

A day later, Graber’s badly beaten body was found hidden under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties in the park.

Investigators believe Miller and Goodale, who were both 16 at the time, beat her to death with a baseball bat – and later boasted about it on social media.

Miller told police he was frustrated with the way Graber was teaching Spanish and upset that the bad grade she gave him lowered his overall average.

Nohema Graber’s body was found under a tarp, a wheelbarrow and railway sleepers.

“The bad grade is believed to be the motive behind Graber’s murder, which directly connects Miller,” said court documents filed by Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Molding and Iowa Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown.

Miller denied any involvement in his teacher’s death, but “later stated that he knew of everything but was not involved” — claiming that a “roving group of masked children” killed Graber and forced him to dispose of the body, according to the court documents .

Witnesses spotted two men driving Graber’s van out of the park less than an hour after the teacher’s arrival. The van was left at the end of a country lane and a witness picked up the two teenagers walking down the same street, investigators said.

Goodale reportedly bragged about the murder to a friend on Snapchat. A witness provided photos of a Snapchat conversation with the teenager that named him and Miller implicated in Graber’s murder.

However, Miller’s attorney, Christine Branstad, said four search warrants were illegally issued and is asking the court to invalidate all four and to include evidence from Snapchat, as well as her client’s home, comments he made to police and information obtained from his Cell phone stem to suppress.

A judge will hear arguments over whether any evidence should be suppressed on Wednesday.

Both boys, now 17, will face trial as adults. Miller’s trial is scheduled to begin March 20 in Council Bluffs and Goodale’s trial is scheduled to begin December 5 in Davenport.

With postal wires

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