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Teen who beat teacher to death for bad grade with baseball bat gets life in prison

Teen who beat teacher to death for bad grade with baseball bat gets life in prison

Willard Miller, 17, pleaded guilty to first degree murder in April for his role in the November 2021 murder.

A US teenager has been sentenced to life in prison after beating his teacher to death with a baseball bat over a bad grade.

Willard Miller, now 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in April for his role in the November 2021 killing of Spanish teacher Nohema Graber.

Miller and his co-defendant Jeremy Goodale, now 18, attacked the 66-year-old teacher after she marked down Miller’s work.

Miller and Goodale were 16 at the time of the murder and were both charged as adults.

On Thursday, Miller was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole only after at least 35 years.

YouTube/Law&Order Crime Network

He was also ordered to pay $150,000 (AUD $222,379) to Graber’s family.

Judge Shawn Showers rejected the defence’s argument that Miller was too young at the time to understand the gravity of his actions.

"Evil does not have a birthday," the Judge said before handing down the sentence.

During the sentencing, Miller apologised to the community and Graber’s family.

"I am sincerely sorry for the distress I have caused you and the devastation I have caused your family," he said.

Graber’s husband, Paul, has since passed away.

On the day of her death, Graber drove her van to a local park where she liked to walk.

Facebook/Christian Graber

Witnesses said they then saw the van leave the park with Miller and Goodale in the front seat.

The next day, police found the mother-of-three's body hidden under a tarpaulin, wheelbarrow and railway sleepers in the park.

The teens were arrested after a witness provided police with photos of a Snapchat conversation in which Goodale admitted he had killed the teacher with Miller.

During a police interview, Miller said he was 'frustrated' with the marks Graber was giving him.

“I’m sorry I can’t respond to the all of the messages but I’ll just say what I’ve been told. My mother passed away. As I understand it was premeditated murder by two students,” Graber’s son Christian wrote on Facebook at the time.

“I forgive them and feel sorry that they had that anger in their hearts.”

“My mother was an angel of a woman and was one of the kindest souls. She gave me the gift of the Spanish language and helped many of her students over the years. She was well loved in the community and around the world.”

Goodale’s sentencing is scheduled for August.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Law&Crime Network. Fairfield Police Department

Topics: News, Crime