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  • Writer's pictureVolume 82 Magazine

Iowa Teens Sentenced to Life with Parole for Killing Beloved Spanish Teacher Over Bad Grade

Nohema Graber. Photo/Facebook

Two Iowa teens, Jeremy Goodale, and Willard Miller, killed a Fairfield, Iowa, high school Spanish teacher, Nohema Graber, in 2021 after she reportedly gave William a failing grade in Spanish, which prevented him from studying abroad. After reportedly stalking the 66-year-old teacher's after-work routine, the 16-year-old boys discovered she frequented Chautauqua Park, eventually beating her to death there. Authorities reportedly found her remains soon after, per several news outlets.

According to The Des Moines Register, Graber was a former pilot, a respected Latino community member, and a Spanish teacher in the Fairfield district for nine years. A judge sentenced Goodale to life in prison with a possibility of parole in 25 years; Miller received life in prison with a possibility of parole after serving 35 years. Both teens were charged as adults for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony. CBS News reports that Goodale apologized to the teacher's family, the community, and his own family; he stated, "I'm sorry, truly sorry. What I've taken can never be replaced," Goodale said, at times through sobs. "Every day I wish I could go back and stop myself, prevent this loss and this pain that I've caused everyone."

Jeremy Goodale (left)/ Photo/The Gazette Pool

The late teacher's children appear to be resilient and believe in forgiveness. According to TDR, her children were positive despite the manner that their mother died. Her son, Christian Graber, posted a Facebook message saying he did so because there was no point in being angry. "My mother was an angel of a woman and was one of the kindest souls," he wrote. Her daughter, Nohema Marie Graber, echoed the sentiment, writing on Facebook, "To the two teenagers that so cruelly took her life, it is clear that they need more love and light in their hearts. But I agree with my oldest brother Christian, all we can do is forgive." However, Graber's brother-in-law, Tom Graber, was not as understanding during Goodale's sentencing, giving the following statement in court, "I must say your actions to me undercut that," Graber said. "You're now an adult. You're over the age of 18, and yet you have your counsel to represent you ... arguing on your behalf to escape punishment for this horrific crime. That doesn't sound like remorse to me." Tom also thanked the justice system for the efforts, he stated, “And again, we’re so grateful (to the community) for the outpouring of support,” he said. “She was a wonderful woman, and we’re going to miss her for a long time.”

Nohema Graber & her children. Photo/GoFundMe

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