Jennifer Mee, the so-called “Hiccup Girl” who briefly became a national story back in 2007 when her case of hiccups lasted over a month, has become a national story once more. She’s on trial in a Florida courtroom for plotting a robbery that left one man dead.
At the age of 15, Mee’s hiccups landed her on the TODAY show and Inside Edition. Eventually her case was cured by drugs used to treat Tourette’s Syndrome. But her life spiralled out of control, and by 2010 she was on public assistance for disability and sharing a St. Petersburg apartment with 3 other people.
Two of her roommates allegedly conspired with Mee in the robbery-death of Shannon Griffin, 22. Mee allegedly made contact with Griffin on an internet site and set up a meeting with him to sell him some marijuana. When Griffin arrived, he was met by Mee’s roommates LaRon Raiford and Lamont Newton who attempted to rob Griffin – and ended up fatally shooting him when a scuffle ensued.
Mee’s trial began on Wednesday with prosecutors accusing her of being the mastermind, while conceding she did not pull the trigger herself. Of Mee’s purported drug deal, prosector Christopher LaBruzzo said: “There was, in fact, no marijuana to be sold. In fact, instead of marijuana they had a loaded .38-special handgun with six shots in it.”
For his part, Mee’s defense attorney John Trevena had been ordered by the court not to mention his client’s alleged mental health problems before the jury. Instead, Trevena relied on the fact that no one could place the gun in Mee’s hand – and denied she was at the scene at all.
As in the Casey Anthony trial, prosecutors produced a jailhouse recording of a phonecall between the defendant and her mother, Rachael Robidoux. On that call, Mee described her innocence in the actual murder: “I didn’t kill nobody,” she said. But may have incriminated herself in the lead-up to the killing: “I set everything up. It all went wrong, Mom,” a distraught Mee continued, “It [expletive] just went downhill after everything happened, Mom.” “Who’d you try to kill, Jennifer?” her mother then asks. Mee replies: “Nobody. It wasn’t even supposed to happen like that, Mom …”
Mee opted not to take the stand in her own defense. Her defense team called the fourth roommate, Jennifer Charron, who has not been implicated in the crime. Charron told the jury that on the night of the shooting, her three roommates said they were going out to get some money.
Charron recalled a panicked Mee arriving home first, saying she had heard gunshots. Raiford walked in shortly after saying that he thought their other roommate had been shot. But Charron said, Newton then arrived and told the others he had shot Griffin.
Back in August, LaRon Raiford was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Lamont Newton, also charged with murder, is yet to go to trial.
Closing arguments are expected on Friday. Jurors will then decide whether to acquit Mee or find her guilty of one of the three charges: Murder (life sentence), Accessory after the fact (up to 30 years), or Manslaughter (up to 30 years).
At several points before trial, Mee offered to plead guilty to lesser crimes in exchange for a reduced sentence. Prosecutors turned down the offers, including the most recent one made in May, where Mee offered to plead out for a 15-year sentence.