Jeremy Goodale has been sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole after a minimum 25 years behind bars.
Goodale plead guilty in April for the murder of Fairfield High School Spanish teacher, Nohema Graber, in November of 2021. Goodale and his friend, Willard Miller, decided to kill the Spanish teacher due to a bad grade given to Miller, who was attempting to spend a semester in Spain. Due to the bad grade, he was deemed ineligible. Miller was sentenced in July to life in prison and 35 years before the chance of parole.
Due to their age, neither of the two convicted of first degree murder were subject to mandatory life in prison without parole.
Two days of court proceedings led to the ultimate decision, that Goodale would spend his life in a cell. Revealed through trial, Goodale did agree to participate in the murder. He and Miller were lifelong friends, and he did not want to “disappoint” Miller by not helping him out. They were both just 16 years old at the time of the murder, in November of 2021.
It was argued that Goodale, although young, fully knew the difference between right and wrong. Several members of Nohema’s family believed that Goodale could have prevented the murder. There were many avenues to do that, such as alerting authorities, yet he chose not only to allow it to happen but participated in it. He was the last face that Nohema Graber saw, as he walked past her and said “hi”, the last words she would hear. Miller snuck up behind her during this interaction and struck her multiple times with a baseball bat.
Judge, Shawn Showers, believes that Goodale still has the chance to turn his life around. He believes that he showed remorse and regrets his actions. “Unlike your codefendant [Willard Miller] it is clear to me that you have regretted this role in the murder, and you’ve been remorseful.” The judge mentioned how Miller was much more “sinister” in his planning and execution. Others in the courtroom told Goodale that they will be praying for him.
Jeremy Goodale spoke in front of the courtroom, sobbing and at one point, bleeding so much through his nose that they had to put the hearing on pause. “Everyday I wish I could go back and stop myself, prevent this loss. Today as a young man, I can begin to pay for that.”
The son of Nohema Graber, Christian, told Goodale that he forgives him, and believes that his mother still loves and wants the best for his former student.