An Iowa woman was sentenced Aug. 19 to 304 months in prison for federal hate crime charges after she attempted to kill two children because of their race and national origin, the Department of Justice said in a press release Friday.
Nicole Poole Franklin, who is in her early 40s, pleaded guilty to two hate crime charges — one for each victim — in April. She had previously been sentenced in May to 25 years in prison in Iowa state court for attempted murder.
Both attacks took place within one hour in Des Moines on the afternoon of Dec. 9, 2019.
The first victim, a Black boy who was 12 years old at the time, was walking on a sidewalk when Poole Franklin drove her Jeep Grand Cherokee over the curb and struck him, causing "cuts, bruising, and swelling." Poole Franklin told the court that she targeted the child because she believed he was "of Middle Eastern or African descent," according to the press release. She fled the scene following the attack.
Approximately 30 minutes later, Poole Franklin was driving by a high school when she saw her second victim, a girl who was 14 years old at the time, walking on the sidewalk. Believing her to be "a Mexican," according to her statement to investigators, Poole Franklin drove her car into the child and fled the scene. The girl suffered serious injuries, including a concussion.
Poole Franklin was arrested later that day when she attempted to steal several items from a gas station and used racial and ethnic slurs against the employees and witnesses who attempted to stop her from leaving without paying for her items.
Police said that Poole Franklin admitted to having used methamphetamine earlier that day.
"Nicole Poole Franklin attempted to kill two children because of the way they looked and where she believed they came from," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division said in a statement issued alongside the sentencing press release. "Children deserve to walk the streets of their neighborhood without fear of violence because of what they look like and where they come from and deserve to grow up in a world where they are not targeted simply because of who they are."