Woman accused of racist attacks in Des Moines area ruled incompetent for trial
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A woman accused of hate crimes in the Des Moines area, including intentionally running over a girl she thought was Mexican, has been ruled incompetent for trial.
42-year-old Nicole Poole is charged with assault in violation of individual rights for an incident at a convenience store and with attempted murder. Police have said she intentionally ran over two children with her SUV. Both survived.
On December 30th, a judge ordered an evaluation for Poole after her attorney reported that he’d only just met Poole but that he thought she was incompetent to stand trial. The prosecutors didn’t fight the defense request for a psychiatric evaluation.
After hearing hearing evidence and arguments, the judge ruled Tuesday 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.
The judge suspended case proceedings and ordered state treatment for Poole to restore her to competency. An April 21 hearing is scheduled to reconsider the matter.
Authorities have said Poole drove her SUV onto a sidewalk in the Des Moines suburb of Clive on December 9th to hit 14-year-old Natalia Miranda. The girl was hospitalized for two days. Clive Police Chief Michael Venema has said Poole told officers she targeted Miranda because the girl “is Mexican.”
After the hit-and-run, West Des Moines police say Poole went to a convenience store and threw items at a clerk while directing racial epithets at him and customers.
Poole also is charged with attempted murder for driving over a Des Moines curb on the same day to hit a 12-year-old black boy.