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Judge delays suppression hearing for Fairfield teen charged in teacher’s slaying
Hearing will be reset after defense lawyers take depositions in August
FAIRFIELD — A judge will delay next week’s hearing on suppressing evidence and statements made by a Fairfield teen accused in the slaying of a high school Spanish teacher.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown said in a motion that the process of “discovery” — the exchange of evidence between the prosecution and defense — typically is concluded before the court considers suppression motions about keeping certain evidence out of a trial.
The suppression hearing had been set for July 7, but lawyers for Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 16, charged with first-degree murder, are to start deposing prosecution witnesses Aug. 16 to 19.
Brown also said the lawyers for Jeremy Everett Goodale, 17 — also charged with killing teacher Nohema Graber, 66, with a baseball bat on Nov. 3 — told the prosecution they will file a suppression motion but haven’t yet done so.
It is possible that Goodale’s lawyers might have the same suppression issues — “same witnesses and overlapping claims” — and those motions could be presented at a later joint hearing with Miller.
Brown said he consulted with Christine Branstad, Miller’s lawyer, and she didn’t have a “definite position” on delaying the hearing.
Eighth Judicial District Judge Shawn Showers granted the motion Wednesday and told the prosecution and defense to contact court administration by July 15 to set a new date for a suppression hearing.
Showers previously granted a motion by Miller to move his trial to Pottawattamie County because of extensive pretrial publicity. Goodale hasn’t filed a motion for a change of venue.
According to unsealed search warrant in March, Miller told investigators he provided a wheelbarrow used in hiding Graber’s body. A witness who lived near the park where Graber’s body was found told police he remembered seeing a male pushing a wheelbarrow toward the park about midnight Nov. 4, 2021.
The teens schemed over social media to kill Graber, who had taught at Fairfield High since 2012, according court documents. They monitored her routine before ambushing her on her daily walk in the park, killing her with a baseball bat and later hiding her body, according to court documents.
The teens are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony. If convicted, they face life in prison but will have a chance for parole because they are juveniles.
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