116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FAIRFIELD — An Iowa City clinical psychologist Thursday said one of the teens charged with killing a Spanish teacher with a baseball bat would benefit from juvenile court treatment and services — if moved out of adult court — but admitted there is no specific programming for homicide defendants.
Psychologist Brenda Payne, who testified during a hearing to determine if the murder case against Jeremy Goodale, 17, is transferred to juvenile court, said she conducted several tests to help form her opinion. She tested the teen’s intellectual, executive, emotional and personality functioning. He is “bright,” has “above average” problem solving skills and no mental health issues.
Payne did diagnosed Goodale with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which affects his impulse control and focus ability.
Payne said juveniles with ADHD are “very influenced” by peers and have difficulties controlling emotions. According to recent studies, a juvenile doesn’t have a fully developed brain and doesn’t have formed character or personality traits as someone later in life, she said. In her opinion, she said, Goodale could be successful with treatment and programming offered in juvenile court.
Goodale is the first of two teens seeking to have their cases transferred from adult court to juvenile court, where they could face lesser charges and penalties if convicted. Goodale, 17, and Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 16, are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony in the killing of Nohema Graber, 66, the Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School. Her body was found in a park near the school in November.
Goodale, during the evaluation with Payne, said he was “grieving for all the grief he had caused.”
Payne noted in her report that juvenile court would allow Goodale to receive needed services earlier than in adult court. According to juvenile court officer’s report, much of treatment in adult court wouldn’t be available until near the end of a prison sentence — at which time the teen’s brain would be fully developed and harder to reshape behaviors, she said.
On cross examination, Payne admitted she hadn’t reviewed any police reports about the crime and only reviewed the juvenile court officer’s summary. She also had no previous treatment or rehabilitation records to consider because Goodale hadn’t received any mental health or substance abuse services and has no criminal history.
She also admitted there is no treatment or services in juvenile court for those who have committed this alleged crime — first-degree murder — as there is in the adult system.
Assistant Jefferson County Attorney Patrick McAvan asked if Goodale elaborated on his grieving comment and acknowledged that he was sorry for the “grief” he caused Graber or other teachers, classmates or parents. Payne said he didn’t.
McAvan said Goodale could have meant he feels grief only because he was caught and is in custody.
He then asked Payne if eight or nine months, depending on when Goodale could be convicted in juvenile court, would be enough time for rehabilitation for murder. She said it might depend on what resources are available. But she felt it would be enough time if Goodale used his “time wisely.”
Allen Cook, Goodale’s lawyer, asked Payne whether Goodale’s lack of medical records makes sense because he had attended the private Maharishi School — which believes in holistic medicines — before moving to public school. Payne agreed.
Karen Dennler, an 8th Judicial District juvenile court officer, testified there isn’t enough time to rehabilitate Goodale before he turns 18, at which time juvenile court has no jurisdiction over him.
Goodale turned 17 in March and is on track to graduate in 2023. Once he turns 18 and graduates, that would end services in juvenile court. Dennler said the waiting list for treatment in juvenile court goes through August.
Goodale may not have the full nine to 12 months to complete the program, depending on when and if he’s convicted. And he wouldn’t have to successfully complete it to be released.
Dennler said there also isn’t any supervision — parole — in the community once released, as there is in the adult system.
Cook, in arguing for transfer to juvenile court, said Goodale won’t receive appropriate programming and treatment for a juvenile in the adult system, and besides it wouldn’t happen until much later in a prison sentence. The court has discretion to move this case out of adult court, Cook added.
Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding argued there are no programs in the juvenile system to address someone who has committed first-degree murder. There also wouldn’t be adequate time in juvenile court for rehabilitation.
He said that Goodale and Miller developed a “grievance” against Graber. They “monitored her, ambushed her and bludgeoned her” with a baseball bat and dragged her into the woods. Then they “rolled her off railroad tracks.”
Eighth Judicial District Judge Shawn Showers said he would make a written ruling on the defense’s motion. Miller’s hearing to move his case to juvenile court is set for May 6.
Comments: (319) 398-8318; firstname.lastname@example.org