Teen Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of Iowa Spanish Teacher
A judge in Des Moines, Iowa sentenced Jeremy Goodale to life in prison with a possibility of parole after 25 years for the murder of Nohema Graber, a high school Spanish teacher.
When Graber’s body was found in November 2021, people who knew her remembered her as a leader of Fairfield’s Latino community. In a victim impact statement, Graber’s sister-in-law, Barbara Graber, said she’s hoping she and her family can finally move on.
“I am so ready to clear my head of thoughts of Jeremy Goodale and his codefendant Willard Miller,” she said Wednesday. “It haunts me the last face Nohema saw on this earth, and the last words she heard were those of Mr. Goodale.”
In April 2021, Goodale and his friend Willard Miller, both 18 years old, pleaded guilty to murder in the first degree for killing 66-year-old Graber. Their Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School was out on her daily walk when the two attacked her. Miller was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years.
Goodale apologized for murdering Graber after she gave him a bad grade
Prosecutors said Miller and Goodale decided to kill Graber because she gave Miller a bad grade. According to their case, Miller was the first to suggest the murder.
Crying, Goodale apologized to the family and the community before the judge brought down his sentence. “Two years ago I made the worst decision of my life, and I take full responsibility for what I did,” he said. “Today as a young man, I can begin to pay for that.”
Police found Graber’s body at a park in Fairfield under a tarp. Miller and Goodale attacked her with a baseball bat and then used a wheelbarrow to move her body.
One of Graber’s former brothers-in-law, Thomas Graber, thanked the community for remembering her life after this tragedy.
“We’re so grateful for the outpouring of support,” he told the Des Moines Register. “She was a wonderful woman, and we’re going to miss her for a long time.”
Graber was born Nohema Castillo Mexico, she left behind three children and her husband
Graber was born in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. She worked as a flight attendant for Mexicana de Aviación, one of the oldest airlines in Mexico. She went on to earn her pilot’s license and became one of the first women in Mexico licensed to fly passenger jets.
Graber and her husband Paul settled in Fairfield, Iowa where they raised three children. For the next 10 years, that’s also where she taught high school Spanish.
At the time of her mother’s death, Nohema Marie marked the tragic loss on Instagram.
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