ST. PETERSBURG — The story of the murder case against "Hiccup Girl" Jennifer Mee is beginning to come out in her own words.
In a recorded statement to police, obtained Monday by the St. Petersburg Times, Mee said, "I thought they were just going to rob the man," who ultimately became the victim of a murder.
Mee also gave an interview for this morning's broadcast of NBC's Today show. And she spoke Monday to WTVT-Ch. 13, saying that on the night of the killing, "I was just going with what people were telling me to do."
As the publicity barrage unfolded, Mee's attorney, John Trevena, charged that St. Petersburg police had initially withheld information that casts doubt on the guilt of his client. He said that delay may have contributed to a judge's decision to order her held without bail.
But a police spokesman denied it, saying it takes time to release information in homicide cases because investigations continue after suspects are arrested. Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said the claim was based on "Mr. Trevena's insatiable desire to see his name in print, as well as on television." But Trevena said there was no good explanation for why police delayed releasing certain documents.
Mee, 19, first gained national notoriety several years ago as a teenage girl with a case of hiccups that wouldn't quit. She dropped out of the spotlight until October, when she was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder.
Police said Mee had helped lure Shannon Griffin, 22, to a vacant St. Petersburg house where Lamont Antonio Newton and Laron Cordale Raiford planned to rob him. Griffin was shot and killed. Police say Mee was not the shooter. But under Florida's felony murder statute, a person who commits certain felony crimes can be charged with murder when someone dies as a result.
In Mee's first recorded statement to police in October, she said Raiford's girlfriend previously had some sort of relationship with Griffin.
"And when Laron I guess found out that he had some type of relation going on with his girlfriend, Laron snapped, grabbed the man up, choked him and pulled the gun out of a bag and put it to the man's head, and told the man not to say anything and brought the man to the back of the house and shot and killed him," Mee said.
Trevena said he intends to ask a judge to set bail for Mee so she has a chance of being released while awaiting trial. Co-defendants Newton, 23, and Raiford, 20, also are being held without bail on first-degree murder charges.
Curtis Krueger can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8232.