A Fairfield teenager who pleaded guilty to killing a teacher received his sentence on Thursday.
Judge Shawn Showers sentenced Willard Miller, 17, to serve life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years for the murder of Nohema Graber, a Spanish teacher.
Both Miller and Jeremy Goodale were 16 years old when prosecutors say the two beat 66-year-old Graber to death with a baseball bat at Chautauqua Park in Fairfield in November 2021. Evidence presented during Thursday’s hearing showed the motive for the killing was a failing grade Miller was receiving in Graber’s Spanish class.
Miller spoke to the court before he heard his sentence.
“I would like to apologize for my actions first and foremost, to the family. I’m truly sorry for the distress that I caused you and the devastation I caused your family.” Willard Miller
Several friends and family of Graber’s provided victim impact statements. Graber’s brother-in-law Tom said her sister-in-law’s death affected the community and specifically her husband Paul.
“This case has had an enormous impact on Nohema’s family, Fairfield High School, and the Fairfield community at large. Not only was Nohema robbed of 30 some of the best years of her life. Her murder deprived Paul Graber of the love of his life, and certainly hastened Paul’s own premature death.” Tom Graber, Nohema Graber’s brother-in-law
Paul Graber passed away on June 29 after a battle with cancer. Multiple members of Nohema Graber’s family blamed Miller for Paul Graber’s death claiming Paul delayed treatment while battling depression related to the murder of his wife.
Jeremy Goodale also pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Goodale’s sentencing has been scheduled for August but his lawyers have requested a delay in the hearing.