FAIRFIELD, Iowa—An Iowa teenager accused of killing his high school Spanish teacher learned Thursday that he will be tried as an adult, a day after a judge rejected his accused accomplice’s request to move the case to juvenile court.
District Judge Shawn Showers ruled that Willard Miller, 16, of Fairfield, will be tried in November on a first-degree murder charge in the beating death of 66-year-old Nohema Graber, who taught at Fairfield High School. Miller and 17-year-old Jeremy Goodale are charged in Graber’s death.
The judge said the juvenile court system would not have enough time to rehabilitate Miller “for a crime of such magnitude.” If found guilty, the juvenile system would not have been able to detain Miller more than six months past his 19th birthday.
Miller and Goodale were both 16 when they were arrested in Graber’s killing. Graber’s body was found Nov. 3 hidden under a tarp, a wheelbarrow, and railroad ties at a Fairfield city park. Police said she had been beaten to death with a baseball bat.
Fairfield is about 95 miles southeast of Des Moines.