FAIRFIELD — Bond will stay at $1 million cash only for two Fairfield juveniles accused by police of killing a high school Spanish teacher.
Judge Joel Yates, in a ruling filed Thursday afternoon but made public Friday, was not persuaded by arguments for lower bond amounts from defense attorneys for Jeremy Everett Goodale and Willard Noble Chaiden Miller. They are currently being held on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Both teens have pled not guilty.
During arguments last Tuesday, attorneys for the teens said the 16-year-olds would agree to monitoring and restrictions akin to being under house arrest if the bond was lowered. Citing financial restrictions and family ties to the area, attorneys assured the judge they weren't at risk of fleeing future hearings if released. Attorneys suggested bond be lowered so that the teens could bail out for $10,000.
Attorneys cited the juvenile's mental health of being detained at an undisclosed juvenile detention facility as they await trial.
Prosecutors argued that bond should be kept at $1 million cash only, or raised to $2 million. Scott Brown, assistant attorney general, said evidence collected by the state shows a heinous crime that was planned and carried out by the teens.
Nohema Graber, a 66-year-old Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School, was found dead in a city park where she frequently took afternoon walks in early November. Her body was covered by a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties, and showed signs of head trauma.
Authorities have not released a motive for the killing but said her body showed signs of head trauma.
Investigators said they were led to the two teens, who were students at Fairfield High School, by a tip about social media messages they had sent about the killing.
"The investigation, in this case, has revealed that the defendant, along with the co-defendant, has engaged in an extremely brutal murder of an innocent person," Brown told Yates during a hearing last week about the teens' bond.
Christine Branstad, the attorney for Miller, argued that pre-trial detention of her client amounts to punishment and pointed to studies that show harmful effects on juveniles who are detained pre-trial.
Citing a Minnesota Law Review article, Branstad argued that "even a short time in detention and taking away from family can have a detrimental effect on the juvenile."
Defense attorney Nicole Jensen, representing Goodale, said the $1 million bond against her indigent client is akin to holding him without bond.
A jury trial has been set for April 19, 2022.
— Find more coverage on the case at www.ottumwacourier.com/fairfieldteens.