Iowa woman pleads guilty to hate crimes after hitting Black, Latino children with vehicle
An Iowa woman who told authorities she intentionally hit two children with her car because of their skin color pleaded guilty to two state hate crime charges on Monday, USA Today reports.
Nicole Poole Franklin, 43, was charged for hate crimes in two separate incidents in 2019. On Dec. 9, 2019, Franklin hit a 14-year-old girl with her car, reportedly telling authorities that she had done so on purpose because the girl looked “Mexican.” Franklin was later connected to an earlier incident that same day in which she drove on to a curb and ran over a 12-year-old Black boy’s leg.
Poole claimed that she thought the boy was of Middle Eastern descent and was a terrorist.
The girl was hospitalized for two days after the incident and the boy suffered a minor injury to his leg. Poole reportedly told police that she had smoked meth beforehand.
Poole on Wednesday made her first appearance in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, USA Today notes. She was charged with two counts of violating the U.S Hate Crime Act for attempting to kill two children based on their race.
Poole faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, USA Today notes, and prosecutors recommended that Poole be sentenced to 27 years in prison.
It is unclear if any charges against her will be dropped as part of her plea deal.
Poole says she is schizophrenic and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.