Prosecutors said in court documents on Tuesday that two Iowa high school students killed their Spanish teacher last year because they got a bad grade.
The documents show a possible reason why the teens, Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale, did what they did for the first time since they were caught in November 2021. The boys, who were 16 at the time, are being charged with killing their teacher, Nohema Graber, who was 66 years old.
Investigators say that Miller met with Graber on November 2, 2021, to talk about how bad his grade was in her class. Later that day, the teacher drove to a park where she walked every day after school. People saw her van leave the park with two men in the front seat less than an hour after she got there.
Investigators say that the van was left at the end of a rural road and that two boys were later picked up by a witness as they walked to town on the same road.
The next day, Graber’s body was found in the park under a tarp, a wheelbarrow, and some railroad ties. Investigators say that she had been killed with a baseball bat, and that one of the teens had bragged about it on social media.
Miller told police that he was upset with the way Graber taught and that his grade in her class was lowering his GPA.
Iowa teenagers accused of killing Spanish teacher over bad grade https://t.co/5GI05Scygb
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“The poor grade is believed to be the motive behind the murder of Graber which directly connects Miller,” Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding and Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown wrote in court documents.
Miller first denied having anything to do with the death of his teacher, but he later said he knew what happened but didn’t take part. He said a “roving group of masked kids” killed her and forced him to give them his wheelbarrow to help move her body. Court documents say he also said that the kids in masks made him drive her van out of the park.
A witness gave investigators photos of a Snapchat conversation between Goodale and another person. The photos show that Goodale admitted that he and another person worked together to kill Graber. The witness said that Goodale said things that implicated him and Miller.
But Miller’s lawyer, Christine Branstad, says that four search warrants were issued illegally because “law enforcement failed to provide information to the issuing magistrate to show the informant is reliable or that the information from the informant should be considered reliable.”
Branstad wants the court to throw out all four search warrants and hide evidence from Miller’s home, comments he made to police, and information from his phone and Snapchat.
Miller’s trial is set for March 20, and Goodale’s is for December 5. Both of the 17-year-olds will be tried as adults.