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Teenagers From Iowa Are Accused of Killing a Spanish Teacher Because of a Poor Grade

Prosecutors said in court filings on Tuesday that two Iowa high school students murdered their Spanish instructor last year in punishment for getting a failing grade. For the first time since the boys, Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale were detained in November 2021, the records shed light on a potential motive in the case. The boys, who were 16 at the time, are accused of killing their teacher Nohema Graber, who was 66 years old.

Investigators claim that on November 2, 2021, Graber and Miller met to talk about his subpar grade in her class. The instructor was known to walk in the park after school every day, so she traveled there later that day. Less than an hour after she arrived, witnesses claimed to observe her van leave the park with two males seated in the front seat.

The van was abandoned at the end of a country road, and the two lads were later picked up by a witness as they were walking to town along the same road, according to investigators. After exchanging gunfire with officers from Iowa, the suspect was killed.

The following day, Graber’s body was discovered at the park buried beneath a tarp, a wheelbarrow, and railroad ties. Investigators found that she had been killed with a baseball bat, and one of the adolescents boasted about the crime online.

Miller complained to the police about Graber’s teaching strategies and how his grade in her class was harming his GPA. According to court filings submitted by Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown and Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding, “the bad grade is thought to be the motivation behind the murder of Graber which directly connects Miller.”

Miller first denied any knowledge of his teacher’s death, but he later admitted to knowing about it but not taking part, claiming that a “roving bunch of masked youths” were really the ones who killed her and coerced him into giving them his wheelbarrow to assist in moving her body. According to court documents, he also stated that the supposed masked youths forced him to drive her van out of the park.

Photos of a Snapchat communication between Goodale and a witness were given to investigators, showing “Goodale’s confessions that he engaged in collaboration with another person to bring about Graber’s killing.” According to the witness, Goodale made remarks in which he specifically named Miller and himself.

Christine Branstad, Miller’s attorney, asserts that four search warrants were wrongfully issued in part because “law enforcement failed to present material to the issuing magistrate to establish the informant is reliable or that the information from the informant could be regarded reliable.”

Branstad is requesting that the court throw out all four search warrants as well as suppress the evidence seized from Miller’s residence, his statements to police and data gleaned from his phone and Snapchat. Miller’s trial is set for March 20 and Goodale’s is for December 5. The two 17-year-olds will be tried as adults. This report was made possible by the Associated Press.

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