Nicole Poole Franklin was sentenced to more than two decades in prison on two federal hate crime charges by U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Rose on Thursday, August 19. Franklin admitted in April that she drove her SUV into two children in December 2019 because she thought they were of Middle Eastern, African, or Mexican heritage.
After pleading guilty in state court the month before, the 43-year-old was sentenced to 25 years in prison, including a mandatory minimum of 17-and-a-half years, in Des Moines last May on state attempted murder charges. The white woman will serve both of her 25-year sentences at the same time.
According to the Des Moines Register, she will be detained for much longer because the federal system does not allow for parole. Federal sentencing guidelines suggested a sentence of 30 years to life in prison.
According to prior reports, the woman admitted to hitting Natalie Miranda, then 14 years old, and a 12-year-old Black kid with her Jeep Grand Cherokee on two consecutive instances on the same day because of their race.
Franklin, who was lurking on Creston Avenue, drove her car “over the curb, across the sidewalk, toward both children,” striking just one of them. The small boy endured discomfort, cuts, bruising, and swelling.
Officers asked Franklin if she thought the youngster was Middle Eastern.
The woman was driving near a junior high school in Clive less than an hour later when she saw Miranda, whom Franklin assumed was Mexican, wandering on the sidewalk. She drove over the curb and struck the adolescent, leaving her at the scene, as she had done before. Later that day, Clive Police detained the woman at a Conoco gas station, when she hurled Middle Eastern ethnic remarks and tossed items at an employee and a customer.
Franklin’s lawyer at the time blamed his client’s mental condition on conservative news outlets portraying immigrants as invaders, alleging that his client had “fallen under the spell of conservative news sites that presented immigrants as invaders.”
Franklin’s actions, on the other hand, were condemned by acting US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, Richard D. Westphal, as “devastating to the American dream of equal rights.” “Her acts briefly disrupted, but did not permanently demolish this dream,” he continued.
When delivering her decision, Judge Rose noted the defendant’s mental health, calling the case “difficult” on “many, many levels,” saying that Poole Franklin is a danger not just to others but also to herself. “It’s terrible that mental health has not been addressed in this country….” “It was evident that this woman was in severe need of assistance,” she stated.
Meanwhile, Westphal stated, “Holding Poole Franklin accountable, not only for her intentional actions, but also for the malicious beliefs that underpin them, is what our justice system should be, and it is a must to provide just punishment, afford adequate deterrence, and protect the public from further crimes by this defendant.”
Franklin eventually expressed regret to the victims and their families, who had filed sealed victim impact statements to the court but had not read them aloud.
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