Iowa Teen Jeremy Goodale Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of Spanish Teacher

Nohema Graber

Jeremy Goodale, an 18-year-old from Iowa, has been sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years for the 2021 murder of Nohema Graber, a Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School. Goodale and his friend, Willard Miller, also 16 at the time, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this year.

The duo killed Graber using a bat while she was on her daily walk in a Fairfield park. Prosecutors revealed the murder was motivated by a poor grade Miller received from Graber, which he feared would jeopardize his study abroad plans.

Before his sentencing, Goodale expressed remorse, stating, “I’m sorry, truly sorry. What I’ve taken can never be replaced.” Judge Shawn Showers considered 25 factors before issuing the sentence, acknowledging Goodale’s remorse but emphasizing his ability to have prevented the crime.

Goodale’s attorney had argued for a life sentence without a mandatory minimum parole period, but the judge aligned with the prosecutors’ recommendation. Under Iowa law, Goodale and Miller were tried as adults but were spared the mandatory life without parole sentence due to their age at the time of the crime.

In July, Miller received a similar sentence, with parole eligibility after 35 years. After the murder, the teens moved Graber’s body near railroad tracks, covering it with a tarp.

Graber, originally from Xalapa, Mexico, had a diverse background, including working as a flight attendant and a commercial airline pilot before moving to Fairfield in 1992 and later becoming a teacher. Her husband, Paul Graber, passed away from cancer following her death, leaving behind three children.

During Goodale’s sentencing, Graber’s family delivered impact statements, with Tom Graber, the victim’s brother-in-law, questioning the sincerity of Goodale’s remorse. He criticized Goodale’s legal team for seeking leniency, stating it contradicted his claims of remorse.

Lou Nightingale
Author: Lou Nightingale

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