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Two Iowa teenagers accused of murdering their high school Spanish teacher will be tried as adults when their case goes to court in November, a judge has ruled.
District Judge Shawn Showers ruled Thursday that Willard Miller, 16, of Fairfield, Iowa, will stand trial as an adult in November for first-degree murder in the death of Nohema Graber, 66, a teacher at Fairfield High. school. Miller’s alleged accomplice, Jeremy Goodale, 17, learned on Wednesday that he, too, will be tried as an adult.
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Speaking during Miller’s appearance on Thursday, the judge said the juvenile justice system would not have enough time to rehabilitate Miller “for a crime of such magnitude.” If convicted, the juvenile system would not have been able to detain Miller more than six months after his 19th birthday.
Both Miller and Goodale were 16 when they were arrested in the Graber murder. Graber’s body was found Nov. 3 hidden under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties in a Fairfield city park. Police say she was beaten to death with a baseball bat.
The county attorney assigned to the case said in earlier court documents that the couple monitored Graber’s lifestyle, ambushed her along her daily walk and dragged her into the woods, returning later. late to better hide his lifeless body.
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Graber, 66, was reported missing on November 2 and her body was found later that day in a park. Authorities earlier confirmed that she had suffered a ‘head trauma’.
Fairfield is about 95 miles southeast of Des Moines.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.