Des Moines Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crimes After Intentionally Using Car to Attack Two Children

An Iowa woman has pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes and state attempted murder charges for intentionally steering her SUV into two children in 2019. She claimed she believed that one of the children was Mexican and the other a member of the Islamic State.

Nicole Poole Franklin, 43, entered her guilty pleas Wednesday in a Des Moines federal court for violating US Hate Crime Act on two separate occasions when she attempted to run over children because of their race.

Nicole Pool Franklin Pleaded Guilty to Violating the US Hate Crime Act After She Attempted to Run Over Children in December of 2019.

Des Moines Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crimes After Mowing Down Two Children with Her Car
Nicole Poole Franklin / Polk County Jail, Iowa

Both attacks on the children occurred on December 9, 2019. In addition to the hate crimes, she also entered pleas of guilty to two state attempted murder charges, The Gazette reports.

Prosecutors claimed Franklin intentionally jumped a curb in Des Moines on the afternoon of December 9 and struck a Black 12-year-old boy, injuring one of his legs. Franklin said she thought the boy was of Middle Eastern descent and was a member of the Islamic State terrorist group, she said during a hearing on Wednesday.

Des Moines Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crimes After Mowing Down Two Children with Her Car

Just minutes later, the assailant ran down a 14-year-old Latina girl on a sidewalk, leaving her with injuries that put her in the hospital for two days. Authorities said Franklin told them she hit the girl because “she is Mexican.” About an hour after the attacks, Franklin was arrested at a local gas station, where officers say she was throwing items at a clerk while yelling racial slurs at him and other customers at the store.

Franklin said she suffers from schizophrenia and has post-traumatic stress disorder. Last year, a judge ruled that she wasn’t mentally fit to stand trial, but she was later restored to mental competency and ordered to face trial, The Gazette reports.

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Des Moines Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crimes After Mowing Down Two Children with Her Car

In general, federal hate crimes carry with them lengthy sentences. Sentencing guidelines say that Franklin could be sentenced to life in prison, but prosecutors are suggesting 27 years behind bars. Further, they want her state sentence to be served at the same time as her federal sentence.

On the state counts, Franklin faces up to 25 years on each of the two attempted murder counts. It wasn’t clear if other state counts, including hate crimes, would be dropped as part of her guilty plea in state court, the Des Moines Register reported.

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