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Motive revealed in the bludgeoning death of high school Spanish teacher Nohema Graber in Iowa

Two teenagers accused of killing their 66-year-old Spanish teacher with a baseball bat apparently did so because she gave one of them a bad grade, according to court documents filed in court on Tuesday.

Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale, both of Fairfield, Iowa, were charged last year with murdering Nohema Graber in Chautauqua Park on Nov. 2, 2021 — shortly after she refused to fix Miller’s poor grade in Spanish. The boys, both 16 at the time, were seen driving away from the park in the teacher’s van. Graber’s battered body was found some time later hidden under a tarpaulin held down with a wheelbarrow and railroad ties.

The young men may have gotten away with their alleged crime, but they reportedly bragged about it on Snapchat and were ratted out by a friend. Miller’s attorney Christine Branstad asked the court to remove evidence from four search warrants and comments he made to police without a lawyer, including blaming him for the murder of “a roving group of masked children” that forced him to participate in the cover-up . The court will decide on Wednesday whether to admit the evidence in the young men’s separate murder trials. Goodale’s trial begins December 5 in Davenport, Iowa, and Miller is scheduled to appear in court March 20 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Both are charged with first-degree murder and first-degree conspiracy to commit murder.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Chauncey Molding told the Associated Press that the motive for the murder was directly related to Miller’s grade point average. “The bad grade is believed to be the motive behind Graber’s murder, which directly connects Miller,” according to court documents obtained by the AP.

After the death, Goodale reportedly bragged about the murder. An unnamed witness provided a screenshot of a message that the attorney general’s office said “identifies Goodale’s admissions that he acted in concert with another person to bring about Graber’s death.”

Branstad has argued for Miller that the search warrants were issued on the basis of an “unreliable informant” and that they should be thrown out because “law enforcement failed to provide the issuing judge with information to show that the informant is reliable or that the informant’s information should be assumed to be reliable.”

Both young men will be tried as adults and live in prison with no possibility of parole if convicted.

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