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Jury picked for 'Hiccup Girl' Jennifer Mee's murder trial

LARGO — Three years after Shannon Griffin was shot, killed and left for dead in the dark, a jury has been selected for one of the people accused in his murder.

Opening statements are scheduled for this morning in the case against Jennifer Mee, the 22-year-old woman known as "Hiccup Girl."

Mee became widely known after a video of her incessant hiccuping went viral in 2007 when she was 15. She appeared on the Today show and was featured in other nationwide media outlets after she hiccuped continuously for five weeks.

The widespread publicity surrounding Mee presented a challenge for attorneys on both sides because they must select jurors who will base their verdict on the evidence presented in court and not on impressions they may have formed while watching and reading media accounts.

Out of the 70 potential jurors, about 30 on Tuesday said they were familiar with "Hiccup Girl" because of media coverage. Of those, half a dozen were sent home because they had formed opinions and didn't think they could be impartial in the case.

Mee started crying in court when some of the jurors explained what they remembered about Hiccup Girl.

In another development, Mee's attorney, John Trevena, said in a brief interview that he had recently learned that his client had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

He said he intended to bring this up during his opening statement.

Trevena had previously said Mee also had been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome.

Authorities have said Mee lured Griffin, 22, to a spot in the 500 block of Seventh Street N ostensibly to sell him marijuana but really as part of a plan with two men to rob him.

One man, Laron Cordale Raiford, 23, has been convicted of murder in the case and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Another, Lamont Antonio Newton, 25, is awaiting trial.

On Twitter

Times reporter Curtis Krueger tweeted from jury selection Tuesday. Here are highlights :

• Jennifer Mee's lead defense attorney is John Trevena. With help from attorneys Bryant Camareno and Jesse James.

• The prosecutors are Jan Olney and Christopher LaBruzzo. They won a murder conviction last month against a Mee codefendant. #hiccupgirl

• Judge hopes to finish the trial on Friday. But it could go as late as next Tues-Wed, she says. #hiccupgirl

• Question to jurors: Have you ever been charged with crime? Answers: shoplifting, carrying concealed firearm, child abuse, more. #hiccupgirl

• Sad fact: in this group of about 60? remaining potential jurors, 3 say they know someone who was murdered. So far

• Make that 4

• "Miss Mee has also been known as the "Hiccup Girl" says Judge Ley. She asks potential jurors how many read-heard about her... #hiccupgirl

She counts 31 who raise their hands. So each will be interviewed individually now in court. #hiccupgirl

• Jennifer Mee makes a sad face looks on verge of tears. It seems to get worse as people describe what they know about #hiccupgirl

• One man says he and co-workers used to joke about Hiccup Girl and razz a co-worker who also hiccuped. No one objects when he is sent home.

• Defense attorney Camareno: just being at crime scene is not a crime. You have to have knowledge and intent to commit the crime.

#hiccupgirl

• That could be the defense right there. #hiccupgirl

• Camareno: "Were you the victim of a crime?" Potential juror: "I'm from Miami, everyone's the victim of a crime." Even Mee laughs at that 1.

Jury picked for 'Hiccup Girl' Jennifer Mee's murder trial 09/16/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 8:04am]
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