A teenager from Iowa, who was found guilty of murdering his Spanish teacher, broke down and suffered a nosebleed while the judge sentenced him to life in prison.
Jeremy Goodale, 18, and his friend Willard Miller killed 66-year-old Nohema Graber as an act of revenge after Miller received a failing grade. Miller pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier in the year.
The pair stalked their teacher during her daily walk in a park in Fairfield, 160km southeast of Des Moines, before attacking her with a bat.
Before his sentencing, Goodale apologised to the victim’s family, the community, and his own family, saying: “I’m sorry, truly sorry. What I’ve taken can never be replaced.
“Every day I wish I could go back and stop myself, prevent this loss and this pain that I’ve caused everyone.”
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Judge Shawn Showers noted that Goodale was clearly remorseful for the murder didn’t consider the consequences of his actions.
Shower’s decision matched the sentence requested by prosecutors, while Goodale’s lawyer argued for a life sentence with no mandatory minimum before parole eligibility.
The two students, aged 16 at the time of the crime, were charged as adults. However, due to their age, they weren’t subject to Iowa’s requirement for those convicted of first-degree murder to serve a life sentence without parole.
In July, Miller was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years. Both Goodale and Miller pleaded guilty in April to killing Graber.
After her death, the two teens moved her body near railway tracks using a wheelbarrow, covering it with a tarp and placing the wheelbarrow and a railway tie on top.
Graber was born in Xalapa, Mexico, and worked as a flight attendant before earning a commercial pilot licence.
Before Goodale was sentenced, members of Graber’s family gave victim impact statements or had them read out in court. During this time, Goodale struggled to contain his emotions and could be seen visibly tearing up.
Tom Graber, the victim’s brother-in-law, said the killing shattered their family and sped up his brother’s death. He noted that while Goodale appeared remorseful in court but questioned how genuine it was.
He said: “I must say your actions to me undercut that. 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.”