A Cape Girardeau teenager has pleaded guilty to a ‘hate crime’ charge after beating and robbing a gay neighbour in the Missouri city during July of this year.
Local TV station KFVS 12-TV has reported that prosecutors dropped a burglary charge against 17-year-old Mercedes Ayers in exchange for her pleading guilty of the hate crime charge, which is expected to carry a lesser sentence, at the Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court on Monday.
41-year-old Jeana Terry was inside her house when the vicious 17 year old Ayers began subjecting her to loud vocal anti-gay abuse. Ayers then went to Ms Terry’s porch and with two young children present, proceeded to pull Terry outside and aggressively attacked her while making derogatory comments about her sexuality.
Outside court Ms Terry was grateful of the plea and even offered hope for Ayers, saying she hopes the teenager will be able to turn her life around and finish high school.
Ayers will be sentenced in November.
Cape Giradeau seems like a respectful, peaceful and pleasant small American town in the lower regions of Missouri, indeed I enjoyed visiting the area two years ago. Yet local’s told me the area was far from ideal for gay people, that an under current of homophobia and homophobic abuse was sadly an all too common. A short distance away in Jackson City earlier this year political representatives tried pass a bill to ‘prohibit the discussion of sexual orientation in public school instruction, material, or extracurricular activity except in scientific instruction on human reproduction’ in public schools.
The area has deep religious communities who like to portray themselves as warm, friendly and giving, yet be outside their ‘acceptable’ types and their hatred is vocal and vicious.