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An Iowa woman has pleaded guilty to hate crime and attempted murder charges after intentionally running over two children because of the color of their skin.
Nicole Poole Franklin, 43, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to two counts of violating the U.S. Hate Crime Act for the string of racially motivated attacks that took place on Dec. 9, 2019, according to the Des Moines Register.
Polk County Attorney John Sarcone told Oxygen.com that Franklin also pleaded guilty in Polk County court earlier this week in connection with the incidents to two felony counts of attempt to commit murder.
Police said Franklin ran over a young boy walking down the sidewalk at a Des Moines apartment complex around 3:54 p.m. on December 9. The 12-year-old had injuries to his leg as a result of the collision, according to a criminal complaint in the case obtained by the local paper. The child was a young Black boy, the AP reported.
Franklin said in federal court on Wednesday she had hit the boy because she thought he was of Middle Eastern descent and believed he was a member of the Islamic State group, according to the Associated Press.
Franklin later told investigators that she had intentionally struck the teenager because she thought she was “a Mexican” and went on to make derogatory statements about Latinos to investigators.
The young girl was hospitalized for two days with injuries sustained in the hit-and-run. She survived the attack.
About an hour after striking the teen, Franklin began throwing items at a local gas station clerk while yelling racial slurs at him.
Franklin has said she has schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. Although a judge initially ruled she was not mentally competent to stand trial, her competency was later restored and she was ordered to face the charges.
Sarcone told Oxygen.com that the state-level charges against her carry a sentence of 25 years in prison for each count. He said prosecutors agreed the sentences could be served concurrently.
As a result, she will not be eligible for parole until she has served at least 17.5 years behind bars, he said.
Sarcone said prosecutors also did not object to her serving her sentence for federal hate crimes.
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