/  10.23.2020

A Georgia teen has been sentenced to juvenile prison for plotting to attack members of a historically Black church last November, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Caitlyn Pye — who appeared in court on Thursday (Oct. 22) — pleaded guilty for one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony and apologized for her actions.

“If you’re 16 years old, you should be planning for college and getting ready for prom, not thinking evil and wanting to hurt people,” she said. “I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done.” 

According to Hall County Assistant District Attorney Julia Greene, the 17-year-old girl carried two knives in her backpack as well as a T-shirt designed with swastikas on its sleeve and the words “I do believe myself to be a white supremacist” on the back. The shirt also called for the release of Dylann Storm Roof, the white man who was convicted on federal and state charges for fatally shooting nine members attending Bible study class at a Charleston AME church in 2015.

Based on jottings from her notebook, Pye planned to follow in Roof’s footsteps with an attack on Bible study students at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Gainesville. She went to the church twice on nights she believed the classes were being held, but found no one there.

The teen’s plan was foiled after a fellow student at Gainesville High School heard her talking about her scheme and informed the principal who passed on the information to a school resource officer. She reportedly admitted that she intended to carry out the plan if it hadn’t been discovered and was later arrested.

During Thursday’s court hearing, Pye was sentenced to the Department of Juvenile Justice where she will remain until she’s 21 years old. She is additionally faced with 10 years of probation, must get court-ordered counseling and is required to write an apology letter to the church. The teen is also prohibited from going near any AME churches in Georgia or contacting any of the members of Bethel AME Church.


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