Teen’s murder trial will be in Scott County | #socialmedia | #children

The trial of a teenager accused in the slaying of a Fairfield High School Spanish teacher will be moved to Scott County, according to court documents.

Both Jeremy Everett Goodale, 17, and Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 16, face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, court records say.

Goodale’s trial has been continued and is currently unscheduled for trial.

‘A fair and impartial jury’

The court granted Goodale’s request to for a change of venue because of publicity surrounding the case, “so pervasive as to make a trial in Jefferson County unfair,” court records say.

“He is requesting a change of venue based on publicity relating to the investigation and pending case.,” court documents say. Records cite numerous links to news articles and comments on social media.

“It is the State’s position that a fair and impartial jury cannot reasonably be selected in Jefferson County. Given the nature of the crimes charged, there is a substantial likelihood many prospective jurors will have heard of the facts that support it and have substantial knowledge of the investigation – more so than other counties where venue may be changed,” court documents say.

The death of (Spanish teacher) Nohema Graber has touched many of the residents of Jefferson County, “particularly since she was a teacher at Fairfield High School,” court records say. “Her death has significantly and emotionally affected many of the residents of the county and prospective jurors making it extremely difficult to obtain a fair and impartial jury.”

“Although Jefferson County residents are, like most Iowans, fair-minded people who are capable of abiding by their oath and would make good jurors, venue of this particular trial is better situated elsewhere.”

“The Court finds that there is a substantial likelihood a fair and impartial trial cannot be preserved with a jury selected from Jefferson County pursuant to Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure.”

Only the jury trail will be held in Scott County, documents say. All other remaining hearings will be in Jefferson County unless the court orders otherwise.

The slaying in November 2021

The two teens face charges in connection with the death of 66-year-old Spanish teacher Nohema Graber, of Fairfield, who went missing Nov. 2, 2021. She was last seen in Chautauqua Park in Fairfield. She was known to walk there routinely in the afternoon, arrest affidavits say.

According to the affidavits, Graber’s body was found concealed with a tarp, a wheelbarrow, and railroad ties in a remote area of the park. She had suffered “inflicted trauma to the head.”

The investigation

Investigators interviewed “an associate” of Goodale, who provided social-media exchanges “indicative of Goodale having specific details of the disappearance and subsequent death of Graber.”

The associate also provided information about social-media communications that indicated Miller was involved and present at Graber’s death. Details included the motive for killing the teacher, planning and the means used to kill her, “as well as deliberate attempts to conceal the crime,” the affidavit says. Based on the information, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Goodale and Miller and their homes.

When the search warrant was served, investigators found multiple clothing items, some of which appeared to have a substance consistent with that of blood. An associate described Goodale as wearing clothing consistent with what was seized, the affidavit said.

Another associate of Goodale reported meeting with Goodale on that Tuesday afternoon in the park, and also saw Miller there.

Miller admitted to being in the park during the slaying, “providing materials utilized” and aiding in actions taken to conceal the incident.

Another change of venue

Miller’s trial has changed location, too – from Jefferson County to Pottawattamie County. His trial is set to begin Nov. 1, court records show.

Each of the teens remains in Jefferson County Jail on $1 million bond.

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