An Iowa woman facing hate crime charges for intentionally running over a Black child, as well as a teen girl she thought was Mexican is incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Nicole Poole, 42, is also charged with attempted murder and assault in violation of individual rights after mowing down two children with her SUV. Both victims survived.
Poole was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in late December after her attorney told the judge he believed she was too incompetent to stand trial, the Associated Press reports. After hearing arguments in the case, the judge ruled ” … by a preponderance of the evidence, [that] the defendant is suffering from a mental disorder which prevents her from appreciating the charges, understanding the proceedings or assisting effectively in her own defense.”
On Dec. 9, authorities say Poole purposely hit 14-year-old Natalia Miranda by driving her SUV onto a sidewalk in Clive, a Des Moines suburb. The teen had to be hospitalized for two days.
The defendant told investigators she targeted the girl because Miranda “is Mexican.” Police later learned that Poole had also struck a 12-year-old boy earlier that day, causing minor physical injuries.
“I want to say, in the strongest terms possible, that there is no place in our community — or any other—- for this type of hatred and violence, Clive Chief of Police Michael Venema said at the time.
Poole’s “hate-filled motivations” didn’t end with her mowing down the two children. She would drive to a local convenience store where she launched into a racist and profanity-laden tirade aimed at a cashier and non-white customers, throwing items in the process.
Police soon arrived and arrested her at the scene.
The case proceedings have since been suspended, AP reports. However, a hearing to reconsider the matter is scheduled for April 24.
A judge also has ordered state treatment for Poole.