Teens charged with murdering Fairfield Spanish teacher ask to be released without bail

Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale are the two Iowa teenagers accused of killing high school Spanish teacher Nohema Graber.

By Daniel Lathrop, Des Moines Register

The two 16-year-olds facing murder charges in the death of a Fairfield High School teacher have asked a judge to release them, without bail.

On Tuesday, defendant Jeremy Everett Goodale, formally waived his right to a public hearing in which prosecutors would have had to show they had enough evidence for the case to move forward.


Fairfield police arrested Goodale and co-defendant Willard Noble Chaiden Miller Nov. 4 after a search party found the corpse of missing, 66-year-old Spanish teacher Nohema Graber the previous day.

Each teen is charged in adult court with counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony.

In court papers Monday, Miller’s attorney claimed he is indigent and asked that the cash bail amount of $1 million be removed or “significantly reduced,” and that he be released to the supervision of his parents.


Lawyer Christine Branstad, who acknowledged that Miller’s parents have funds, said Miller would agree to wear a GPS monitoring device and to 24-hour supervision by his family.

In papers filed Tuesday, prosecutors said Miller is a risk to the community based on his “numerous statements indicating his involvement which include his state of mind at, before, and after the commission of the crime.”


“Any promise of home supervision is particularly insufficient since this crime occurred while the defendant was residing at home presumably under the supervision of his parents and the support of his family,” wrote Special Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown.


Goodale’s attorneys filed similar documents Tuesday in which they said he lacked the resources to post the $1 million bail and that he would appear for trial if released on his own recognizance or placed on pre-trial supervision.


If prosecutors object to that request as well, each would likely be entitled to a bail review hearing before District Court Judge Joel Yates, who is presiding over the cases.

Meanwhile, the preliminary evidence hearing for Miller remains scheduled for Friday, although it too could be cancelled.

Such hearings are routinely waived by defendants, and in most cases prosecutors file documents detailing charges while providing sealed testimony for confidential review by the judge and defense lawyers.

Prosecutors had not yet filed those formal charging papers in either case by Tuesday afternoon.

Daniel Lathrop is a staff writer on the Register’s investigative team. Reach him at (319) 244-8873 or [email protected]. Follow him at @lathropd on Twitter and facebook.com/lathropod.

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