One of two Iowa teens who beat their Spanish teacher to death over a bad grade was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, Nov. 15.
Jeremy Goodale, 18, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in 25 years for his role in killing Nohema Graber, 66, with a baseball bat on Nov. 2, 2021.
Goodale and Willard Miller, 17, pleaded guilty earlier this year to first-degree murder of their teacher, whom they first stalked at a park in Fairfield and then beat to death when they were both still just 16.
Goodale had blood running from his nose during Wednesday’s hearing as he sobbed during an apology to the dead teacher’s loved ones.
“I’m sorry, truly sorry. What I’ve taken can never be replaced,” Goodale said through sobs.
“Every day I wish I could go back and stop myself, prevent this loss and this pain that I’ve caused everyone,” he added.
Prosecutors said the teens decided to kill Graber because she had given Miller a bad grade.
Miller, worried about not being able to participate in a study abroad program, masterminded the killing and the two teens ambushed the teacher at a park she was known to walk in daily.
Judge Shawn Showers noted it was clear Goodale was remorseful and didn’t consider the repercussions, but that he was a smart boy who could have easily prevented the murder.
The two teens were charged as adults, but because they were 16 at the time of the murder, they are not subject to an Iowa requirement that those convicted of first-degree murder serve life without parole.
Before Goodale was sentenced, 10 members of Graber’s family gave victim impact statements.
During statements read by Tom Graber, the brother of the victim’s husband, Paul, questioned the authenticity of Goodale’s remorse.
“I must say your actions to me undercut that,” Tom Graber said. “You’re now an adult. You’re over the age of 18, and yet you have your counsel to represent you … arguing on your behalf to escape punishment for this horrific crime. That doesn’t sound like remorse to me.”
In July, Miller was sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole after 35 years.