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Fairfield teens plead not guilty in death of Spanish teacher

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 10:17 AM CST
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FAIRFIELD, Iowa (KYOU) - Jeremy Goodale and Willard “Chaiden” Miller both waived their right to an arraignment in court on Monday morning, instead choosing to both submit written not guilty pleas.

According to court documents, both have waived their right to a speedy trial. Both are pleading not guilty to murder in the first degree and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony by planning or commission.

Pre-trial hearings are set for March 21, 2022 at 1 p.m in Fairfield. The judge has also entered a jury trial is set for April 19, 2022.

This comes less than a week after both teens appeared in court to get their $1 million bonds reduced. A judge Tuesday said he would take under advisement a request to reduce the $1 million cash bond. District Court Judge Joel Yates said he anticipates filing a written ruling sometime this week following short bond review hearings.

Defense attorneys argue the bonds shouldn’t be lowered, but rather stay the same or be raised to $2 million.

“I want to consider what each side has told me here today, [and I] want to review the file,” the judge said during a hearing for Goodale.

The teens are charged as adults with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony in the death of 66-year-old Nohema Graber. Arrest affidavits revealed that social media exchanges showed Goodale had knowledge of Graber’s disappearance and death.

They also included information about plans to kill Graber.

Graber was last seen in the area of Chautauqua Park on Nov. 2. Graber frequently went for walks at that park, according to the affidavits.

Her family reported her missing on the morning of Nov. 3.

Later that day, police found her body in the park hidden under a tarp, wheelbarrow, and railroad ties. According to the affidavits, the initial investigation indicated Graber suffered “inflicted trauma” to the head.

Police have not released a motive.

Both teens are being held in a juvenile detention center.

Miller is represented by Christine E. Branstad in Des Moines and Goodale is represented by Allen Cook III and J. Nicole Jensen.

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