Two Iowa Teens Killed Spanish Teacher Over Bad Grades, Prosecutors Say

Two teenagers were charged with the first-degree murder of their high school Spanish teacher last November — and now, a year later, prosecutors have shared what they believe is a potential motive.

Both Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale were just 16 when they were arrested and charged with murdering teacher Nohema Graber in Fairfield, Iowa. Her body was found beaten to death on November 3, 2021, hidden under a tarp in a local park.

New court documents filed ahead of a hearing this week (via the AP) revealed that during a police interview, Miller allegedly expressed his frustrations with Graber’s teaching style and how his grade in her class was bringing down his GPA. He also called Graber an “ass—-.”

“The poor grade is believed to be the motive behind the murder of Graber which directly connects Miller,” read the docs, filed by Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding and Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown.

Prosecutors also stated that after initially denying involvement in her disappearance, Miller allegedly said he “had knowledge of everything but did not participate” and claimed “a roving group of masked kids” made him help move the body.

This week’s hearing was over arguments about the evidence in the case, as Miller’s lawyer is asking for the court to invalidate four search warrants and toss out information from his cellphone and Snapchat, as well as comments he made to police. Miller’s team is arguing the warrants were issued illegally.

The documents filed stated a witness shared a Snapchat conversation with police which “identify Goodale’s admissions that he acted in concert with another person to bring about Graber’s death” — and said Goodale made statements implicating both himself and Miller.

Per a search warrant that was previously unsealed, the Snapchat messages indicated both boys “were involved in the planning, execution, and disposal of evidence” in relation to her death. According to an AP report from back in March, Goodale’s messages allegedly described how the two surveilled Graber, as well as how she was killed with a baseball bat, where her body was located and how they concealed and disposed of evidence.

The two boys, who are now both 17, will be tried as adults. However, the Iowa Supreme Court banned life without parole sentences for minors in 2016.

Goodale’s trial will begin December 5, while Miller’s is scheduled for March 20.

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