Two Iowa teenagers accused of killing their 66-year-old Spanish teacher have pleaded not guilty, according to reports.
The human remains of Nohema Graber were found at Chautauqua Park in Fairfield, Iowa, earlier this month just hours after the teacher was reported missing by her family members.
On Monday, the two 16-year-olds — Willard Noble Chaiden Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale — also requested the court to reduce their bond from $1m to $100,000 cash or surety.
Investigators had found Graber’s body under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties in the park.
The two 16-year-old boys have also waived their right to a speedy trial, the local news reported.
Judge Joal Yates is expected to give a written ruling on the case this week. The teens are also scheduled to appear in front of a jury on 19 April next year.
Police said Graber often visited the park where her remains were found.
Investigations revealed that the Fairfield High School teacher had “suffered inflicted trauma to her head.”
Graber had taught Spanish at the school since 2012.
Governor Kim Reynolds had shared her condolences. “My heart goes out to the family, friends, colleagues, and students that are dealing with this tragic murder of Nohema Graber. Ms Graber touched countless children’s lives through her work as an educator across our state by sharing her passion of foreign language.”
She added: “I am confident through the work of our dedicated law enforcement that justice will prevail.”
Investigators received a tip, including a social media exchange, that indicated one of the two teens, Jeremy Everett Goodale, knew of Graber’s disappearance and death.
The social media exchange also included information about plans to kill their teacher. Police said that the exchange also pointed that the other boy, Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, was present at the time of the high-school teacher’s death.
Police had also searched their homes and found blood-stained clothes. One of the acquaintances of the teenagers had confirmed to police that they saw the two boys at Chautauqua Park in Fairfield.
Meanwhile, prosecutors say that the bond shouldn’t be reduced and that it should remain at $1m or even be raised to $2m.
Nicole Jensen, the state public defender representing Jeremy, said: “A million-dollar cash-only bond.. is so far unobtainable that it essentially amounts to pretrial detention without bond.”
Ms Jensen said Jeremy won’t be able to pay the bond money of $1m as his father works in construction. She said that he would be able to pay just about $10,000.
She insisted that the boy didn’t have a driver’s licence or a passport and hence won’t be able to flee. Ms Jensen asked for house arrest and additional monitoring.
Chauncey Moulding, the Jefferson County Attorney, had earlier said that there was no outside level of supervision that could guarantee the community’s safety given the heinous nature of the crime.