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Iowa teen convicted of beating Spanish teacher to death receives life in prison:

Iowa teen convicted of beating Spanish teacher to death receives life in prison:

An Iowa teenager sentenced in the 2021 beating death of a high school Spanish teacher He was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 25 years.

A judge sentenced Jeremy Goodale for his role in the murder Nohema Graber, a 66-year-old teacher at Fairfield High School. Goodale, 18, and a friend pleaded guilty earlier this year to first-degree murder for beating Graber to death.

The two high school students used a bat to kill Graber after harassing her while she took her daily walk in a large park in Fairfield, a small Iowa town about 100 miles southeast of Des Moines.

Before being sentenced, Goodale apologized to the teacher’s family, the community and his own family.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. What I’ve taken can never be replaced,” Goodale said, sometimes sobbing. “Every day I wish I could go back and stop, avoid this loss and this pain that I have caused everyone.”

After speaking, and still crying, Goodale’s nose began to bleed for several minutes before the hearing was paused, CBS affiliate KCCI-TV reported.

Jeremy Goodale cries as he listens to his sister Jacqueline read a tribute he wrote about her as he testifies at his sentencing hearing at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Fairfield, Iowa, on Nov. 14, 2023.

Jim Slosiarek / AP

Prosecutors said Goodale and his friend Willard Miller, both 16 years old at the time, decided to kill Graber because of a bad grade he had given Miller. Prosecutors have said Miller first suggested that the two kill Graber after becoming concerned that a poor grade would prevent him from participating in a study abroad program.

Judge Shawn Showers analyzed 25 factors he had to consider before handing down his sentence of life in prison with a minimum of 25 years. He said it was clear that Goodale was remorseful and did not consider the repercussions of killing Graber, but Showers noted that the teen is an intelligent person who could have easily prevented it from happening.

The judge’s decision coincided with the sentence requested by prosecutors. Goodale’s attorney had said he should be sentenced to life in prison with no mandatory minimum sentence before being eligible for parole.

The two students were charged as adults, but because of their age they were not subject to Iowa’s requirement that those convicted of first-degree murder serve a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

In July, Showers sentenced Miller to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years in prison.

Goodale and Miller pleaded guilty in April to Graber’s murder. After killing Graber, they used a wheelbarrow to move his body to a location near the railroad tracks, where they covered him with a tarp and placed the wheelbarrow and a crossbar on the tarp.

Graber was born in Xalapa, Mexico. After graduating from high school, he worked as a flight attendant and later earned his commercial airline pilot’s license. After getting married, he moved to Fairfield in 1992 and later earned a teaching certificate. She had worked at Fairfield High School since 2012. Her husband, Paul Graber, died of cancer after the death of his wife. The couple had three children.

Speaking before Goodale was sentenced, 10 members of Graber’s family gave victim impact statements or had a court official read their statements. During those statements, Goodale appeared to have difficulty maintaining her composure and holding back tears.

Tom Graber, brother of the victim’s husband, Paul, said the murder devastated his family and hastened his brother’s death. He said Goodale looked and sounded remorseful in his statement to the court, but questioned the authenticity of those statements.

Nohema Graber

Fairfield High School

“I have to say his actions undermined that,” Graber said. “You are an adult now. You are over 18 years old, and yet you have an attorney representing you…arguing on your behalf to escape punishment for this horrible crime. That doesn’t sound like remorse to me.” “.

KCCI-TV reported that Graber added: “Murdering a teacher to avoid an F was apparently enough to make you accept the crime.”

When Judge Showers handed down his ruling, he said he thought Goodale had a better chance of being rehabilitated than her co-defendant, Miller, because of her cooperation and sincerity, KCCI-TV reported.

“I wish you luck, Mr. Goodale, and I hope everyone in this room can heal too,” Showers said.



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