A woman charged with intentionally hitting two children with her vehicle in December 2019 because of their skin color pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to two hate crime charges.
Nicole Poole Franklin, 43, of Des Moines, Iowa, was charged after a string of incidents on Dec. 9, 2019, during which police said she hit a 12-year-old boy, who is Black, and a 14-year-old girl, who is Latina, with her car and yelled racial and ethnic slurs at a gas station employee.
Poole made her initial appearance in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on Wednesday afternoon. She was charged with two counts of violating the U.S Hate Crime Act for trying to kill both children because of their races. Poole said she has been schizophrenic as an adult and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
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The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors recommended she be sentenced to 27 years in prison and that the charges be served at the same time as state charges she is also facing.
Poole pleaded guilty in state court Monday to two counts of attempted murder. Both of those charges carry prison sentences of up to 25 years.
It was unclear if a state hate crime and five other charges in state court will be dropped as part of the plea agreement. Poole’s state public defender, Matthew Sheeley, declined to comment. Polk County Attorney John Sarcone did not return requests for clarification on the state’s plea agreement.
She’s due to appear in state court Thursday.
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