Jennifer Mee (born July 28, 1991) is an American woman known as the "Hiccup Girl" for her long-lasting case of the hiccups. Mee appeared on national American television shows such as NBC's Today Show many times. Mee was arrested for first-degree murder in 2010. After a trial she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2013. M. William Phelps wrote a book about her that was published in 2016. Her transmutation from "media darling" to convicted murderer attracted renewed national attention. Her conviction and sentence have received criticism in a law review.
Jennifer Mee Pinellas County Jail 2010
Jennifer Ann Mee
July 28, 1991
St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
|Known for||"Hiccup girl"|
|Criminal charge||First degree murder|
|Penalty||Life in prison|
|Partner(s)||Laron Raiford and Lamont Newton|
|Imprisoned at||Lowell Correctional Institution|
In 2007, when Mee was 15 she gained international fame when she developed a case of uncontrollable hiccups. She appeared on television shows all over the United States hoping to find a cure. Mee claimed to be hiccupping 50 times a minute. National media competed to book her for morning shows. Her "world record" bout of hiccups has been compared to the world record for sneezing. The causes and treatment of her condition were disputed; but her popularity as an internet search item was long lasting. Her search for a hiccup cure included ingesting "sugar, peanut butter, breathing in a bag, having people scare her. The hiccups were stopped, after Mee was treated with drugs normally prescribed to patients with Tourette syndrome. Mee's family sued the maker of the hiccup medicine for using a picture of Mee in their advertising.
After Mee was cured she was no longer a media curiosity. Mee dated a man named Lamont Newton. She had a plan to find robbery victims online and set them up. She recruited Newton and another friend Laron Raiford, to help her rob victims.
In 2010, Mee set up a 22-year-old man she met online. She lured the man to a vacant home and two of Mee's friends robbed and shot the man. They got $50 in the robbery and murder. Under Florida law, Mee was as responsible as the person who pulled the trigger because she set him up. After meeting the victim (Shannon Griffin) Mee led him around to the back of a vacant home where her two friends (Laron Raiford and Lamont Newton) were waiting with a .38 caliber handgun. The victim was shot four times but police did not know which suspect did the shooting. The victim died. Mee, Raiford, and Newton all lived together and they were arrested within hours of the crime. According to Sergeant Skinner of the St. Petersburg Police Department, Mee and her accomplices admitted to their involvement in the crime.
Prior to the trial, Mee's lawyer, John Trevena, offered to have Mee plead guilty in exchange for a 15 year sentence. One of Mee's accomplices (Laron Raiford) was offered a pleas deal of 40 years in exchange for a guilty plea, but he rejected the deal.
Mee was represented by John Trevena in her murder trial. During the trial, the prosecution played a recording of a jailhouse phone call between Mee and her mother. During the call, Mee told her mother, "I didn't kill nobody...I set everything up. It all went wrong, Mom. It [expletive] just went downhill after everything happened, Mom." Also, experts also testified that Mee's DNA was found on the victim's shirt. Mee's lawyer offered that his client was a schizophrenic. The judge ordered a psychological evaluation, however, it was determined that Mee was competent to stand trial. Another defense used by her lawyer was that Mee's hiccups were a symptom of Tourette's syndrome.
In 2013, Mee was found guilty of first-degree murder. Mee was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Her co-defendants LaRon Raiford and Lamont Newton, were also convicted of first-degree Felony murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Mee's attorney motioned for a new trial which was subsequently denied.
The verdict and sentence of Mee have been cited as an example of judicial mismanagement of trials involving female defendants. The writers opine on “They were there”[specify] as evidence of guilt; and the disregard of relevant evidence of victimization and abuse as a mitigating circumstance in the prosecution and sentencing of women. They grapple with the consequences of the felony murder rule, which punishes "presence"– and upgrades the offense to first-degree murder – under specified scenarios. They martial statistical information on demographics, convictions, sentences and prison populations to urge that women (typically accomplices) are over-charged and over-punished in Florida, particularly.
- "Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Subject Charge Report". pcsoweb.com. Pinellas County Jail. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
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- Phelps 2016, pp. 298, 311, 275, 382, 401.
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- Provine 2012, p. 101.
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- Cassens Weiss, Debra. "CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Lawyer for 'Hiccup Girl' May Assert Tourette's Defense". ABA Journal. American Bar Association. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
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- "'Hiccup Girl' Jennifer Mee offers guilty plea in exchange for 15 years in prison". Tampa Bay Times. May 3, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
- ""Hiccup Girl" co-defendant rejects plea deal in murder case, report says". CBS News. March 27, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
- Goldman, Russell (October 25, 2010). "Hiccup Girl's Murder Defense: She Has Tourette's, Says Lawyer". ABC News. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
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- Neil, Martha (September 23, 2013). "'Hiccup Girl' convicted in felony murder case, gets life term". ABA Journal. American Bar Association. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
- "Hiccup Girl Jennifer Mee Denied New Trial". Tampa Bay Times. October 17, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
- Phelps, M. William (March 1, 2016). One Breath Away: The Hiccup Girl - From Media Darling to Convicted Killer (1st ed.). New York, New York: Pinnacle Books. pp. 298, 311, 275, 382, 401. ISBN 978-0786035014.
- Provine, Robert R. (August 31, 2012). Curious Behavior. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 101. ISBN 9780674071568. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
- Ryann, Samantha (2018). Hiccup Girl: The True Story of Jennifer Mee. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1983846910. ISBN 9781983846915.
- Torres, John A.; Healey, Tim (December 15, 2016). The World's Weirdest News Stories. Berkeley Heights, New Jersey: Enslow Publishing, LLC. p. 97. ISBN 9780766083790.