A teenager in Iowa was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his Spanish teacher over bad grades.
Jeremy Goodale, 18, was sentenced to life in prison with a possiblity for parole after 25 years for his role in the gruesome murder of Nohema Graber, a beloved Spanish teacher in Fairfield, Iowa.
‘Two years ago I made the worst decision of my life, and I take full responsibility for what I did,’ Goodale told the court while sobbing. ‘Today, as a young man, I can begin to pay for that.’
Graber was found beaten to death and hidden in Chautauqua Park just outside the small town of about 9,000 people.
Jeremy Goodale’s nose begins bleeding after his tearful apology at his sentencing hearing (Picture: YouTube/Law & Crime)
Earlier the same day, Graber had asked Miller to stay behind after class to speak about a bad grade on a recent test.
‘The poor grade is believed to be the motive behind the murder of Graber which directly connects Miller,’ prosecutors said.
She then drove to the park, where she frequently took walks after work. Witnesses at the park said they saw her van being driven by two young men.
Miller and Goodale, then 16, were arrested for the murder on November 2, 2021. They were identified as suspects after bragging about the crime on social media, prosecutors said.
Nohema Graber, a Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School in Iowa, was found murdered in a park in 2021 (Picture: Facebook)
Both teenagers were charged as adults and pleaded guilty in April 2023.
Miller was sentenced in July, where he apologized to Graber’s family and accepted responsibility for the killing.
District Court Judge Shawn Showers said there was ‘no excuse’ for his actions, which he called ‘sinister and evil.’
Miller was ultimately sentenced to life in prison with the possibility for parole after 35 years.
Jeremy Goodale’s booking photo shortly after his arrest in 2021 (Picture: AP)
On Tuesday, Showers sentenced Goodale for his role in the slaying.
Prosecutors asked the judge for a life sentence. Both Goodale and Miller qualified for parole because they were under age 18 when they committed the murder.
Before the sentence was handed down, Goodale addressed the court, Graber’s surviving family, and his own family. He offered a tearful apology for his actions.
‘I’m understanding now that Ms Graber meant so much to so many people. She was a support to the community, and those close to her, and she was a caregiver to her family.’
Jeremy Goodale speaks with his lawyer at his sentencing hearing on Tuesday (Picture: AP)
Graber’s husband, Paul Graber, died from cancer after her murder.
He also apologized to his friends and peers at Fairfield High School, as well as his parents and siblings.
‘I’m sorry for the stigma placed on you just for having known me,’ Goodale said between sobs. ‘I’m sorry that I let you down in so many ways.’
He continued: ‘I know that my words will never be enough, but to Ms Graber and all my family, I am truly sorry.’
As Goodale sat down and wiped the tears from his eyes, his nose began bleeding uncontrollably.
Goodale was ultimately sentenced to life in prison with the possibility for parole after 25 years.
Judge Showers said the 18-year-old had less ‘sinister’ motivation for the killing than his accomplice.
‘Unlike your co-defendant, it’s clear to me you have regretted your role in Ms Graber’s murder,’ Showers said.
But Showers did note that Goodale could have stopped Miller at any point in time, and that he will require ‘significant rehabilitation’ before he is granted parole.
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Jeremy Goodale’s nose began bleeding uncontrollably after the tearful apology.