Accused Teen’s Suppression Request Denied by Judge

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An accused teenager’s request to suppress evidence recovered in the aftermath of a Fairfield teacher’s death was denied by a judge earlier this week.

Willard Miller, 17, faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection to the 2021 killing of Nohema Graber, a Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School. Prosecutors believe Miller and Jeremy Goodale, also 17, murdered Graber because of bad grades.

Miller’s attorneys argued that Miller’s mother was not properly informed of the severity of the offense her son was charged with when authorities presented a juvenile waiver. Additionally, the argument was made that Miller’s parents were not present at the time of his interrogation and Miller was not told the reason for his arrest.

Miller and his lawyers also contended the warrant for Miller’s phone was excessive and did not establish a sufficient reason to search his phone therefore making its confiscation unconstitutional.

Judge Shawn Showers overruled and denied the hearing by making the following decision:

The Court finds that the Defendant has not carried his burden to make a substantial preliminary showing that false statements were included in the search warrant affidavit or that information was intentionally or recklessly omitted in order to mislead the magistrate. The Court further finds that the magistrate has a substantial basis to conclude that probable cause existed justifying the issuances of the search warrants in this case, and that the warrants were not overbroad, lacking a nexus, or otherwise without authority.

The Court additionally finds that as the Defendant was being held on suspicion of participation in a homicide, the juvenile protections regarding parental notification do not apply, and that the Defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights.

Miller is also seeking a continuance for his trial scheduled for March 20th. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday.

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