A teenager in the US state of Missouri has pleaded guilty to a hate crime charge over the beating of a gay neighbour in July of this year.

KFVS-TV reports prosecutors dropped a burglary charge against 17-year-old Mercedes Ayers in exchange for her plea in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court on Monday.

Ayers pleaded guilty to felony assault motivated by discrimination in the attack on 41-year-old Jeana Terry.

Police said the victim was inside her Cape Girardeau home when Ayers began shouting anti-gay slurs.

Ayers then went to Ms Terry’s porch with two younger children present, pulled Terry outside and attacked her while making comments about her sexuality.

Ms Terry suffered serious injuries.

She’s relieved by Ayers’ plea and says she hopes the teenager will be able to turn her life around and finish high school.

Ayers will be sentenced in November.