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Press Release

Des Moines Woman Sentenced to 304 Months in Prison for Hate Crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

Nicole Poole Franklin attempted to kill two children because of their race and national origin

DES MOINES, IA – Nicole Poole Franklin, age 43, of Des Moines, was sentenced to 304 months in prison by United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose after pleading guilty to two hate crime charges for attempting to kill two minors because of their race and national origin. The federal sentence will run concurrently with the 25-year sentence imposed in the Iowa District Court for Polk County on May 28, 2021, for two counts of attempted murder. Poole Franklin was ordered to serve five years of supervised release to follow her prison term and pay a $200 special assessment to the Crime Victims’ Fund.

On the afternoon of December 9, 2019, Poole Franklin drove her Jeep Grand Cherokee on Creston Avenue in Des Moines, where the first child-victim and a minor family member were walking on the sidewalk. Upon seeing the children and believing the victim was of Middle Eastern or African descent, Poole Franklin intentionally drove her vehicle over the curb, striking one of them. She then drove away from the scene. The child victim suffered cuts, bruising, and swelling. Poole Franklin later stated she believed the child was “ISIS” and was going to take her out. Approximately 30 minutes later, Poole Franklin drove her vehicle near Indian Hills Junior High School in Clive, where the second child-victim was walking on the sidewalk. Poole Franklin, drove her Jeep over the curb and struck the victim, causing serious injury, including a concussion, bruises, and cuts. Poole Franklin later told law enforcement that she believed the minor victim was Hispanic, and was “takin over . . . our homes, and our jobs,” and “wasn’t supposed to be in our country.” Poole Franklin again left the scene but was apprehended by law enforcement later that day.

Acting Southern District of Iowa United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal wrote in his sentencing memorandum to the district court, “Nothing can be more devastating to the American dream of equal rights than the actions of Poole Franklin on a hate filled December 9, 2019, as she callously attempted to run over and kill a 12 year old boy, and a 14 year old girl. Two minors who had done nothing wrong other than innocently walk on a street, and happen to be of a different race and skin color from Poole Franklin. Her actions temporarily shattered, but did not permanently defeat this dream. Because these two courageous victims, and their amazing families, continue to epitomize the hopes of what our society can be. Holding Poole Franklin accountable, not only for her intentional actions, but for the malicious beliefs behind them, is what our justice system should be, and a must to provide just punishment, afford adequate deterrence, and protect the public from further crimes by this defendant.”

Following today’s sentencing, FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel stated, “Nicole Poole Franklin committed a despicable crime. She targeted and seriously injured two children because of the color of their skin. FBI Omaha will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate hate crimes and seek justice for the victims. We encourage everyone to report such crimes to the FBI.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Des Moines Police Department, the Clive Police Department, the West Des Moines Police Department, and the Polk County Attorney’s Office. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa, in conjunction with the Department of Justice-Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated August 23, 2021

Civil Rights
Hate Crimes