Cape Girardeau teen pleads guilty to hate crime - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau teen pleads guilty to hate crime

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Mercedes Ayers (Source: Missouri Vinelink) Mercedes Ayers (Source: Missouri Vinelink)
Jeana Terry suffered serious injuries in the ordeal. Jeana Terry suffered serious injuries in the ordeal.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

The Cape Girardeau teen accused of a hate crime pleaded guilty Monday in court.

Mercedes Ayers, 17, was also accused of burglary, but the court dropped that charge.

She'll be sentenced in November.

Police say Ayers beat a woman outside her Cape Girardeau home in July while yelling homosexual slurs at her.  

Jeana Terry suffered serious injuries in the ordeal. Terry and her partner say they are surprised but relieved with the plea of guilty.

"We didn't want to have to go to trial," said Terry. "They know what they did was wrong. I hope she'll use this as an opportunity to turn her life around. I'd like to see her finish school, that would mean a lot to me."

Terry says she hopes the sentence sends a message, but still gives Ayers a second chance.

"Everybody's life is changed forever," said Terry. "But, I don't want this to take her life away."

The Ayers family did not return our calls or messages.

In September, Ayers told us she has nothing against homosexuals and feels she and her family were victims of racism. Ayers says she wants to finish school, become a dental hygienist, and take care of her family.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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