After more than three hours of deliberation on Friday night, a St. Petersburg, Florida jury found “Hiccup Girl” Jennifer Mee guilty of first-degree murder. The young woman who achieved a modicum of modern fame for a notable case of hiccups will spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Tears flowed freely throughout the courtroom as a few female jurors teared up as they affirmed their unanimous verdict. The 22-year-old Mee repeatedly wiped tears from her face as she listened to the verdict, through her mandatory sentencing of life imprisonment, and as she was fingerprinted and taken to jail by bailiffs.
Shanna Griffin, the mother of victim Shannon Griffin, told reporters “I’m just glad for the victory” as she exited the courtroom.
The late night verdict came after spirited closing argument during which prosecutors played the audiotaped jailhouse phonecalls of their so-called “star witness” Jennifer Mee (who did not take the stand at trial). “I set everything up,” Mee told her mother “It all went wrong, Mom. It just went downhill.”
During his closing, defense attorney John Trevena denied his client had the wits to come up with such a dasterdly plan: “We’re not dealing with… a mastermind here.” He characterized the jailhouse tape as the careless wording of “a frightened young girl.”
Ultimately, prosecutor Jan Olney won the day with her rebuttal closing, arguing that Mee was “the bait that lured Shannon Griffin to a back alley that was dark where two of her cohorts waited…. And that is why Shannon Griffin is not with us any longer.”