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Judge denies Fairfield teen’s waiver to juvenile court, murder trial date set

JEFFERSON, Iowa – A judge’s ruling means one of the Fairfield teens accused of killing a high school Spanish teacher will not have his case moved to juvenile court.

Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Goodale is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of 66-year-old Nohema Graber. Willard Miller faces the same charges. Both were 16 at the time of the murder back in November of 2021.

According to Iowa law, juveniles 16 and older are automatically charged as adults for crimes that are forcible felonies — like first-degree murder.

Both teens sought waivers of their case to juvenile court, but a ruling in Miller’s case has not yet been released.

In Judge Shawn Showers’ ruling, he states, “…the Court finds there are no reasonable prospects for rehabilitating the Defendant in juvenile court. The juvenile court’s dwindling time to rehabilitate the Defendant is simply insufficient for a crime of such magnitude based on the nature of the offenses described in the minutes of testimony. Dr. Payne’s opinion that the Defendant possesses multiple characteristics that would aid him in progressing through a treatment plan may be correct. However, it would not be in the best interests of the Defendant or the community to transfer jurisdiction to the juvenile court where only limited services are available for a short window.”

Goodale’s trial has been scheduled to start on August 23. A venue has yet to be determined.

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