Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'Hiccup Girl' attorney seeks to have her released on bail

LARGO — As defense attorney John Trevena tried to convince a judge that his young client should be freed from jail despite being charged with murder, she stood by his side and sobbed.

Jennifer Ann Mee also kept hiccuping.

"I would like to reiterate to the court that Ms. Mee is only 19 years of age," Trevena said. "She has never been arrested before. This has been her first experience with the criminal justice system."

But now the teen once known as "Hiccup Girl" is charged with first-degree murder, accused of plotting to rob 22-year-old Shannon Griffin — a plot that ended in his death, St. Petersburg police said.

Trevena appeared before Pinellas County Judge Donald E. Horrox on Tuesday morning to ask him to set $50,000 bail for Mee.

Mee was 15 when a case of unrelenting hiccups turned her into a media sensation in 2007. After repeated television appearances she was eventually diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome.

Then last month she was arrested for murder along with Lamont Antonio Newton, 22, and Laron Cordale Raiford, 20. Police said Mee lured the victim to an empty home on Oct. 23 so the other two could rob him — but instead they shot and killed him.

Because Griffin died in the commission of an alleged felony, all three can be charged with his murder. They are being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail. It's rare, but not unheard of, for judges to release murder defendants on bail.

As his client hiccuped through the entire hearing, Trevena argued that Mee isn't a flight risk, that her parents would guard her 24-7 in their Spring Hill home. He also said his client is 19 in age only: she dropped out of the 10th grade, has a learning disability, can barely read and write and may even have brain damage. Mee couldn't even pass the written portion of her driver's license exam.

"Intellectually, mentally, I personally feel she stopped growing at the age of 10," said her stepfather Chris Robidoux.

Her mother, Rachel Robidoux, told the court her daughter was led astray by men who abused her and preyed on her for her disability checks. In short, Trevena told the judge, Mee doesn't have the mental or financial means to flee if allowed to post bail.

But Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney Moin Kahn argued that she is a flight risk. Mee has been almost homeless for the past year, he said, and was reported missing several times by her family.

Trevena also tried to argue that there's little evidence tying Mee to the crime. Police haven't yet said who pulled the trigger, and are still awaiting the results of forensic tests.

But St. Petersburg police Detective David Wawrzynski testified that Mee already admitted her involvement in the plot: She texted Griffin where to meet her that night, then led him to the other two.

"She stated it was her intent for a robbery to occur," Wawrzynski said. "They all discussed that they needed some money."

As for Mee's demeanor in that interview, he said: "There was a portion where she cried, but other times she was making jokes."

The judge said he would issue a ruling Friday.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

'Hiccup Girl' attorney seeks to have her released on bail 11/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Can the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl thrive in competitive sports market?

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's a funky name: the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. But the new sponsors for the former St. Petersburg Bowl might need more than an eye-catching name to create a thriving, profitable contest.

    NC State head coach Dave Doeren clutches the championship trophy after winning the Bitcoin Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in 2014. Bowl organizers are changing the name of the game to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
[

MONICA HERNDON | TIMES]
  2. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  3. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Who is that 'Blacks for Trump' guy standing behind the president at his Phoenix rally

    National

    At a number of political rallies over the last two years, a character calling himself "Michael the Black Man" has appeared in the crowd directly behind Donald Trump, impossible to miss and possibly planted.

    Michael the Black Man, variously known as Michael Symonette, Maurice Woodside and Mikael Israel, holds up a sign as President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center during a rally on Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona.  [Ralph Freso | Getty Images]
  5. Off-duty Manatee County deputy saves couple from burning car

    Public Safety

    MANATEE COUNTY — Neil and Claudia Cook are lucky to be alive after an off-duty deputy spotted them trapped in their smoking car and rescued them just before it became engulfed in flames on …

    Neil and Claudia Cook were trapped in their smoking car on Sunday when an off-duty deputy kicked out the window, rescuing them just before the car became engulfed in flames. [Courtesy of Manatee County Sheriff's Office]