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FAIRFIELD — Saying there is no “reasonable prospects for rehabilitating” Jeremy Everett Goodale in juvenile court, a judge Wednesday rejected a request from the teen accused of murdering a high school teacher to have his case transferred from adult court, where he faces harsher penalties if convicted.
Eighth Judicial District Judge Shawn Showers cited what authorities said was Goodale’s active role in planning the murder last year of Fairfield High School Spanish language teacher Nohema Graber, 66, along with “gathering the necessary supplies” to complete the “brutal” act and steps taken afterword to conceal the body and crime.
Showers also considered there is no reliable measure of previous rehabilitation for Goodale to review, and the available programs, facilities and personnel for rehabilitation in the adult and juvenile systems. The resources in juvenile court are limited, especially in light of Goodale’s age of 17. He would have less than a year of services before turning 18 and released from the juvenile system.
An Iowa City psychologist, Brenda Payne, testified last month for the defense that Goodale was a good candidate for rehabilitation based on his intelligence, willingness to engage in programs and treatment and his “self-created” goals, according to the ruling. It was her recommendation for the court to transfer the case to juvenile court.
But Karen Dennler, a juvenile court officer, testified the procedure and available resources are limited in juvenile court and the process of disposition — conviction — and placement at the state training school can take months.
Showers pointed out Goodale could simply “run out the clock” on his time at the state training school or in another juvenile facility before he is released, and there is no guarantee that he would be “meaningfully” rehabilitated.
The limited time Goodale would have in juvenile court is “simply insufficient for a crime of such magnitude based on the nature of the offenses described in the minutes of testimony,” the judge said.
Goodale is the first of two teens charged with the murder seeking to have their cases transferred from adult court to juvenile court, where they could face lesser charges and penalties if convicted.
Goodale and Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 16, are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony in the killing of Graber, who was their Spanish teacher. Her body was found in a park near the school Nov. 3. Goodale was 16 at the time of the killing.
The judge hasn’t made a ruling for Miller yet.
Authorities have said the teens exchanged social media messages about the murder, but have not disclosed what they think the motive was for the crime.
Goodale’s trial remains set in adult court for Aug. 23, which the judge included in this ruling. Miller’s trial is set for Nov. 1.
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