Jeremy Goodale, one of two Iowa teenagers who pleaded guilty to the 2021 murder of their Spanish teacher, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday. He will be eligible for parole in 25 years.
Goodale’s co-defendant, Willard Miller, was sentenced in July to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 35 years. Miller is appealing the sentence, according to his case record.
Goodale and Miller pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the killing of Nohema Graber, which occurred when they were both 16 years old. Graber was a teacher at Fairfield High School, where Miller and Goodale were students, city officials said.
Graber was beaten to death and her remains were concealed under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties, investigators said.
“I’m sorry. Truly sorry. What I’ve taken can never be replaced,” Goodale said in a statement to Graber’s family during the sentencing hearing.
Judge Shawn Showers noted Goodale’s age is the only thing that saved him from a lifetime behind bars.
“If you had helped Mr. Miller 18 months later, you would be in prison for the rest of your life,” Showers said.
Graber’s son Christian also spoke at the hearing, saying he was willing to forgive Goodale because he believes that is what his mother would want.
“I have hope that your story can still be something positive,” Christian Graber told Goodale, noting he spoke to Goodale in prison before the hearing. “I really do believe that you feel bad for what you did, and I believe in you, and I do forgive you.”
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com