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17 Year Old Pleads Guilty To Hate Crime

Mercedes Ayers, 17 yo from Missouri was charged with a Class B felony charge of first-degree burglary for entering the home of Jeana Terry on July 24. The second charge of 3rd degree assault, which is normally a misdemeanor, was upgraded because County Prosecutor Morley Swingle said the assault was a hate crime due to the victim’s sexual orientation.

According to LGBTQ Nation, court records stated that Terry opened the door the evening of July 24 and Ayers grabbed her arm and started assaulting her. Terry, according to court records, did not fight back, but simply tried to block the punches and stomping while she was on the ground.

Ayers was joined by several other juveniles, two being Ayers’ two younger siblings. Ayers was reported to have yelled several racial slurs to Terry as well as made several comments regarding Terry’s sexual orientation while beating her. Terry suffered serious injuries and was hospitalized.

On Monday, the prosecutor dropped the burglary charges in exchange to Ayers pleading guilty to the felony assault charge motivated by discrimination against Terry.

Terry was reported to say that she hopes Ayers will turn her life around and hope she finishes high school. Ayers will be sentenced in November.


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