Teenager Jeremy Goodale has finally been sentenced for his role in the 2021 murder of his school teacher, Nohema Graber, in Fairfield, Iowa.
Goodale had pleaded guilty earlier this year to killing Graber and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. He will be 43 when he becomes eligible for release.
In July, his friend and co-conspirator Willard Miller received a sentence of life with a minimum of 35 years. Goodale’s punishment was more lenient because he agreed to testify against Miller.
On November 3, 2021, Goodale and Miller, both aged 16, followed their Spanish teacher, 66-year-old Graber, into Fairfield’s Chautauqua Park, where they brutally beat her about the head with a baseball bat.
The teenage killers then covered the remains with a bit of tarp, a wheelbarrow, and a railway tie. Their motive for killing her was a bad grade.
Goodale and Miller were arrested a short time after the murder because of incriminating photos they put on the social media platform Snapchat. The pair were charged as adults due to the severity of their crime.
Jeremy Goodale family blamed mother’s leaving for causing killer mental distress
During the trial, Goodale’s father, Dean Goodale, and his sister, Jacqueline Goodale, testified in his favor, claiming the killer had been badly affected by his parents’ divorce and his mother moving to Colorado.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
His father also claimed that Goodale had been “devastated” by the pandemic and that he had become increasingly concerned about his son’s mental health.
Fairfield police Lt. Julie Kinsella testified that Goodale had largely agreed to go through with the murder because he didn’t want Miller to think he was a chicken.
At the sentencing, Goodale, much like Miller before him, expressed remorse and offered up apologies over the killing. The teenager sobbed as he said, “I’m sorry, truly sorry. What I’ve taken can never be replaced. Every day, I wish I could go back and stop myself, prevent this loss and this pain that I’ve caused everyone.”
Goodale also apologized to his dad, saying he had let him down in so many ways.
At one point, Goodale’s nose began gushing blood as he kept sobbing, which caused the hearing to be paused for a short time.
Nohema Graber family slammed Jeremy Goodale for the killing
Members of Graber’s family also spoke at the hearing, with her brother-in-law Tom Graber, condemning Goodale for not preventing the murder and casting doubt on his testimony. During his plea deal, Goodale allegedly claimed Graber’s clothes had fallen off when they dragged her remains under the tarp.
However, Tom Graber disputed that version of events, saying, “It’s not clear to me that you told the whole truth during that proffer interview either. Nohema’s body was found almost entirely nude, clad only in a bra with her jeans down to her ankles. Your explanation? Her clothes just came off as we were dragging her. I find that hard to believe.”
Another brother-in-law, Jim Graber, told Goodale, “I do want you to know I pray you will continue your journey to find God, and I pray for your safety and salvation.”