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Judge to issue written rulings on bond reduction requests for teens charged in Fairfield teacher’s death

Jeremy Everett Goodale, left, 16, and Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, right, 16.
Jeremy Everett Goodale, left, 16, and Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, right, 16.(Courtesy Photos)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 3:34 PM CST
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FAIRFIELD, Iowa (KWQC) - A judge Tuesday said he will take under advisement a request to reduce the $1 million cash bond of two 16-year-olds charged in the death of a Fairfield Spanish teacher earlier this month.

District Court Judge Joel Yates said he anticipates filing a written ruling sometime next week following short bond review hearings for Jeremy Everett Goodale and Willard Noble Chaiden Miller in Jefferson County District Court.

“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. They will be arraigned on the charges Monday.

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.

Goodale and Miller appeared with their attorneys Tuesday in Jefferson County District Court for bond review hearings.

During a hearing for Goodale, his attorney, Nicole Jensen, argued that the $1 million bond is “so excessive” that it amounts to being held without bond pending trial.

She asked the judge to lower his bond to $100,000 and argued that he is not a flight risk and has no prior criminal history. Jensen further argued that Goodale would abide by the rules of house arrest if granted, would not have internet access and would complete mental health evaluation and treatment.

Jeremy Goodale, 16, of Fairfield, appears in court with his attorney, Nicole Jensen, for a bond...
Jeremy Goodale, 16, of Fairfield, appears in court with his attorney, Nicole Jensen, for a bond hearing Tuesday in Jefferson County District Court.(KWQC)

Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown asked the judge to keep the bond the same or raise it to $2 million and said the investigation has revealed that the teens engaged in an “extremely brutal murder of an innocent person.”

Miller’s attorney, Christine Branstad, also asked for his bond to be reduced to $100,000, noting that he does not have a juvenile or criminal history and has lived in the same home his entire life.

She argued that there is a “real risk of detriment to a juvenile who is very abruptly detained and in a case like this where there is a possibility that this could be a prolonged period of time before a trial, the type of detention matters.”

Branstad said there are a number of resources available, such as GPS and video monitoring and 24/7 monitoring by his family, that would assure that Miller would appear at all court proceedings.

“All of these options combined with a reduction in bond provide an opportunity to ensure appearance while this process works out and protect the community,” she said.

Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding asked Yates to increase Miller’s bond to $2 million cash-only.

“There is no reason or no amount of surety that the state believes would secure his appearance at future proceedings,” he said. “The defendant is charged with a Class A homicide. If convicted...there is one sentence and that is life in prison.”

Willard Miller, 16, of Fairfield, appeared with his attorney, Christine Branstad, during a bond...
Willard Miller, 16, of Fairfield, appeared with his attorney, Christine Branstad, during a bond review hearing Tuesday in Jefferson County Court.(KWQC)

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