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Jennifer Mee, Florida "Hiccup Girl," Goes to Trial for Internet-Related Murder

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Jennifer Mee, whom many will recall as the Florida "Hiccup Girl," is on trial for her role in an Internet-related murder case. Mee, now 22, is charged as one of three who lured Shannon Griffin, an Internet "Friend," to a St. Petersburg 7th Street home on the pretext of selling him some marijuana. Instead, the trio of Jennifer Mee, LaRon Raiford, and Lamont Newton attempted to rob the would-be purchaser at gun-point of a small amount of cash, about $80. Griffin was killed during a struggle over the gun.  

As Mee's trial got underway on Tuesday, September 17, Judge Nancy Moate Ley told jury members that the judicial process would likely wrap up by week's end. A second member of the trio, Lamont Newton, Mee's boyfriend, is still awaiting trial, and the third, LaRon Raiford. is already serving life in prison for his participation in the crime. 
At her trial, Mee's defense is expected to be in part that she has spent much of her young life hiccuping. Jury members and spectators may well be sympathetic to her exasperation with this malady. Mee's hicupping bouts have lasted not minutes or hours, but weeks, and at a rate of fifty hiccups an hour. It was said that Mee even hiccuped during yawns. Her father tried unsuccessfully to find a solution to his daughter's misery, vowing to go to any lengths to find her relief. "Either a doctor here, or a doctor in Africa!" he declared.  

Jennifer met with doctors, cardiologists, neurologists, and chiropractors, in Florida and New York, but all to no avail. Then, one Wednesday afternoon the frustration suddenly ceased. The distraught 15-year-old had been going futilely from one appointment to another, but on that auspicious afternoon she was able to report: "They are gone!" She was asked by the media, which had taken an interest in her plight, to describe her first reaction to what had happened. Her first reaction, Mee said, was surprise: "Holy cow, they're gone!" "I cried, too!" she added.

The story, however, doesn't end there. In June of 2007, Jennifer, then still only 15, went missing and was reported a runaway. Her sister told local news people that she had seen Jennifer on a Sunday evening, at a neighborhood recreation center in St. Petersburg, but that after that she had never returned home. Mee had told her sister, "I don't want to go home!" Four years later, at the age of 19, she was charged with participation in the murder of Shannon Griffin.

Since Mee's indictment on the murder change, prosecutor Christopher LaBruzzo has argued that Mee "set everything up" for the crime. But John Trevent, Mee's defense attorney, has a different viewpoint. At trial, he is expected to describe a love triangle and the presence at the crime scene of a new player, a Miss Jennifer Charron. Charron had previously been a witness for the prosecution, but Trevent calls her a participant in the crime.

Late medical records now indicate that Mee in fact suffers from a variation of Tourette's Syndrome. This revelation may or may not be seen as a mitigating circumstance, should the jury find her guilty of the crime with which she is charged.

Ms. Mee has been confined since her arrest in October of 2010. Because she is considered a "high profile" prisoner, much of her time has been spent in solitary confinement. If convicted of participation in the murder of Shannon Griffin, she will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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John Lake, born in Chicago, has worked in radio, motion pictures, and in the theater. His early anti-invasion of Iraq speeches were carried on major networks. Today's world needs honesty, integrity, and wisdom.
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