FAIRFIELD, Iowa – Two teens in southeastern Iowa pleaded guilty Monday to killing their high school Spanish teacher, whose body was found earlier this month in a park where she went for daily walks.
Teenagers, both 16, is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the killing Nohema Graber and Fairfield. Graber, 66, was reported missing on Nov. 2, and her remains were found later that day in the local park. Authorities said she suffered “inflicted trauma to her head.”
NBC News usually does not mention minors charged with a crime, not even those charged as adults.
Authorities have not revealed a possible motive for the killing.
Both teens, who are being held in juvenile detention centers, filed their pleas in court documents filed in court Monday. They waived their right to a speedy trial, meaning prosecutors did not have to prosecute them within 90 days of being indicted, and Judge Joel Yates scheduled the trial to begin on April 19. He asked lawyers to schedule a preliminary conference on March 21. to discuss issues involving evidence, length of trial, and jury selection method.
Last week, the teens’ lawyers asked Yates to lower their bond so they could be released to the custody of their parents, saying they had no chance of escaping prosecution. One of the defense attorneys, Christine Branstad, said research shows that detaining young people away from the family for extended periods before the trial can have a detrimental effect on them and hamper their development.
Prosecutors, however, called for the bonds to be held at $ 1 million or even raised to $ 2 million. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown said the “extremely brutal murder of an innocent person” justified holding the defendants in custody.
Yates indicated he would take a stand on the bond issue this week.