An Iowa judge will keep the bond for two teenagers charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of their Spanish teacher at $1 million. Judge Joel Yates will only receive the money to get the students out of jail if it is in cash.
The Associated Press reports that the legal team for both Willard Noble “Chaiden” Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale requested for the bond to be reduced from seven figures. Specifically, the teens hoped to be released to the custody of their parents under house arrest and additional monitoring.
Nohema Graber, Willard Noble Chaiden Miller (top right), and Jeremy Everett Goodale (bottom right). Credit: Fairfield Police Department
However, this was met with resistance from the prosecution who not only asked for it to stay at the original mark of $1 million but submitted that the bond be raised to $2 million based on the brutality of the crimes.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown specifically noted that reducing the bond would be dangerous because the teens “engaged in an extremely brutal murder of an innocent person.”
Goodale and Miller are both charged with the horrific death of Nohema Graber, their teacher. Brown’s counterpart, Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding, further noted that the city has no way to secure the community from their potential menace if they were to be released.
According to the ABC News local affiliate KCRG, though the minors have both pleaded not guilty, the judge still did not budge.
He issued this statement: “The Court took into account the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the defendant’s family ties, employment, financial resources, the length of the defendant’s residence in the community, the defendant’s record of convictions, and the defendant’s record of appearances at other court proceedings.”
The story grabbed headlines in November after the Fairfield High School teacher was found dead. The 66-year-old’s remains were found in Chautauqua Park in Fairfield the day after a formal missing person report was filed.
Students remembered her as a particularly hard instructor but respected her.
“Not all of us liked Spanish two or three,” Former student Sawyer Mast explained to KCCI. “It was a hard class. But she was, in reality, probably one of the best teachers we had because she held you to her standards, and that was good for her.”
Mast also told the news outlet that she knew that Miller didn’t like the teacher at all.
She shared, “Having known Chaiden, having him in my class, he did speak, not in a murderous way, but in a very aggressive way for dislike toward Ms. Graber.”
Other students recalled an argument that they overheard between the teacher and student earlier in the week on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Miller wanted his grade to be bumped up in Spanish class.
Police have concluded that this same student that argued with the teacher was in the park, which was a place that Graber was known to visit frequently. Her body, according was found on Wednesday, Nov. 3, in the park underneath a tarp, a wheelbarrow and railroad ties. Detectives noted that she had sustained “trauma to the head,” which hastened her death.
It is reported that a student, who was an associate of the two teens, shared information with the detectives that they received from social media posts. These exchanges included who was allegedly involved in the murder, the motive, the plan and the execution details.
The two teens have pleaded not guilty, however, court documents report that Miller admitted to being in the park and said that he helped to hide her death.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a statement, saying, “My heart goes out to the family, friends, colleagues, and students that are dealing with this tragic murder of Nohema Graber. Ms. Graber touched countless children’s lives through her work as an educator … I am confident through the work of our dedicated law enforcement that justice will prevail.”
An immigrant, Graber moved from Mexico to Fairfield in the 1990s. She met, married and divorced Paul Graber. She was also a mother. Her daughter, Nohema Marie Graber, expressed this about the accused, “To the two teenagers that so cruelly took her life, it is clear that they need more love and light in their hearts.”
Her son Christian noted that he forgave the people who killed his mother and shared what he wanted people to know, “My mother was an angel of a woman and was one of the kindest souls.”
Graber also was a flight attendant who eventually became one of the first women in Mexico to be licensed to fly a passenger jet.
The court documents denying the bond reduction were filed on Thursday and the young men will remain incarcerated until their trial.
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