Florida ‘Hiccup Girl’ found guilty of murder
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida woman whose nonstop hiccups vaulted her into the public spotlight, only to be ensnared later in a man’s death, was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder.
Jennifer Mee, 22, wept after the verdict was read in a Florida court, sometimes holding her head in her hands. She sobbed some more as she was led out of the room for a jail cell.
Pinellas County Judge Nancy Moate Ley sentenced her to life in prison without parole and informed her she had 30 days to appeal.
Mee was 19 when she was arrested in October 2010. Police said she met Shannon Griffin on a social networking site, then lured him to a vacant home days later.
Authorities do not believe Mee or Griffin, a Wal-Mart employee who recently moved to Florida, knew each other prior to their online encounter.
Mee led Griffin around to the back, where two men — Laron Raiford and Lamont Newton — were armed and waiting, authorities said. Griffin died after being shot multiple times with a .38-caliber revolver.
All three suspects were arrested hours after Griffin’s body was found. And all three were charged with first-degree murder, even Mee, although police indicated she didn’t pull the trigger. Mee, Raiford and Newton had all been living together, according to police.
According to Bay News 9, Raiford was sentenced to life in prison last month and Newton has yet to stand trial.
The spotlight on Mee after the arrest, and during her trial, stood in contrast to the attention she got in 2007. That’s when she earned the nickname “Hiccup Girl” for having hiccups lasting more than a month, even appearing multiple times on NBC’s “Today” show.
Her desperate search for a hiccup cure included trying “sugar, peanut butter, breathing in a bag, having people scare me,” she said in a photo slideshow posted on the St. Petersburg Times’ website in February 2007.
But after her hiccups faded, Mee continued to draw attention. In June 2007, local media reported she ran away from home. In January 2010, St. Petersburg police again issued a missing person report for Mee.
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