'Hiccup Girl' guilty of first-degree murder in Florida

Sept. 20, 2013 at 11:41 PM
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- A young Florida woman who as a teen became known for her uncontrollable hiccups was convicted Friday of arranging the murder of a St. Petersburg man.

Jurors found Jennifer Mee, 22, guilty of first-degree murder after 3 hours of deliberations, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The murder conviction means a mandatory life sentence.

Earlier, lawyers on both sides gave their closing arguments, with prosecutor Jan Olney calling Mee "our star witness." That was because of a tape, played again for the jury Friday, that had Mee telling her mother in a phone call that she "didn't kill nobody," but "set everything up."

Mee became known as the "hiccup girl" at the age of 15 because she had a case of hiccups that lasted for five weeks. But in 2010 she and two of her roommates were arrested on charges of killing Shannon Griffin, 22, during a bungled robbery.

A telephone call Mee made to her mother immediately after her arrest was recorded.

"I didn't kill nobody," Mee is heard saying. "I set everything up. It all went wrong, Mom. It [expletive] just went downhill after everything happened, Mom."

Under Florida law, Mee could be charged with murder even though there was no evidence she intended Griffin's death or carried out the killing because she allegedly arranged the robbery that led to his death.

John Trevena, Mee's lawyer, said she was a "frightened young girl" when she made the phone call. He also suggested she does not have the capacity to plan a crime.

"We're not dealing ... with a mastermind here," he said.

Laron Raiford has been sentenced to life with no parole for the killing. Lamont Antonio Newton is awaiting trial.

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