Sunday, May 27, 2018
News Roundup

Attorneys for 'Hiccup Girl' Jennifer Mee seek new trial

ST. PETERSBURG — Two weeks after "Hiccup Girl" Jennifer Mee was found guilty of first-degree murder, her attorneys have filed a motion seeking a new trial.

The lawyers claim Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley erred in matters of jury instructions, and they also say new evidence has surfaced about a key witness in the case.

Defense attorney John Trevena predicted that if Ley does not order a new trial, "I believe it is a near certainty that the appeals court will reverse and remand for a new trial."

Mee became nationally known as a 15-year-old high school student when she suffered bouts of hiccups that lasted weeks at a time. Then in 2010, at age 19, she was arrested along with two male roommates and charged with the first-degree murder of Shannon Griffin, 22. Police said Mee lured Griffin to a home near downtown St. Petersburg, where her roommates planned to rob him. Instead, Griffin was shot and killed.

No one thinks Mee shot Griffin, but under Florida law, people can be charged with murder if someone dies during the commission of another serious crime, such as robbery, even if they didn't pull the trigger.

The motion, drafted by another of Mee's attorneys, Bryant Camareno, says new evidence has surfaced in the form of an online comment on tampabay.com, the website of the Tampa Bay Times.

After testimony concluded in the trial last month, the motion says a woman who identified herself as Rosalea Hughes posted a comment on a story about witness Jennifer Charron, who was the only one of Mee's three roommates not charged in Griffin's murder.

Hughes "posted a comment that Ms. Charron went around telling people that she 'had her boyfriend killed,' " the motion says.

This is important, Trevena and Camareno said, because it coincides with their argument at trial that Mee never intended to set up a robbery and instead the killing involved a "love triangle" among Charron, Griffin and one of Mee's male roommates.

The motion also argues that jury instructions should have been handled differently.

Jurors should have been given an instruction about the legal concept of an "independent act." This is the idea that Mee's two male roommates — both also charged in the murder — may have acted independently without Mee's knowledge. Larone Cordale Raiford has been convicted in the case and also was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Another roommate, Lamont Antonio Newton, awaits trial.

When jurors were deliberating last month, they asked a question that related to another legal concept known as being a "principal" and whether it applied to the crime of robbery. Ley gave jurors an answer, but the defense thinks it was the wrong one.

Comments
Meteorologists are calling Alberto a ‘subtropical storm.’ What the heck is that?

Meteorologists are calling Alberto a ‘subtropical storm.’ What the heck is that?

We’re all waking up to the impacts of Alberto: dreary rain, gusty wind, the reluctant change of Memorial Day plans.But while the effects are routine for storm-weathering Floridians, the category of storm Alberto falls into is a little less familiar. ...
Updated: 17 minutes ago

Temple Terrace applauds progress on downtown project

TEMPLE TERRACE — A round of applause from the audience followed the recent vote by the Temple Terrace City Council to negotiate a contract with a company that plans to build and manage luxury apartments in the long-idle downtown redevelopment area.Th...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

NEW PORT RICHEY — Florida Highway Patrol troopers are looking for a driver who hit and killed a 46-year-old bicyclist then drove from the scene.Shawn Michael Grady, of New Port Richey, was biking south on Rowan Road south of Massachusetts Avenue abou...
Updated: 3 hours ago
FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

HUDSON — A 30-year-old man died after he was struck by a car and thrown off the motorcycle he was riding.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Derek Fingerle, of Hudson, was traveling south on U.S. 19 in the center lane about 8:20 p.m. Saturday. M...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

Subtropical Storm Alberto continued its trek north-northeast overnight and is expected to make landfall in the northern Gulf Coast late Monday.The storm was about 85 miles north of the Dry Tortugas as of Sunday morning, producing winds up to 40 mph a...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Published: 05/26/18
Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

RIVERVIEW — A Riverview woman shot and killed her husband Saturday because he punched her father and wouldn’t say sorry, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office said. Sabrina Michelle Hendley, 40, faces a first-degree murder charge in th...
Published: 05/26/18