ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley on Thursday denied "Hiccup Girl" Jennifer Mee's motion for a new trial after she was found guilty last month of first-degree murder.
Mee's lawyers claimed Ley erred in matters of jury instructions and said new evidence had surfaced about a key witness in the case. But, according to the judge's order, "the defense could not produce a single witness or piece of evidence to support the allegations."
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 for a new trial, drafted by one of Mee's attorneys, Bryant Camareno, said new evidence had surfaced in the form of an online comment on tampabay.com, the website of the Tampa Bay Times. But in her order Thursday, Ley denied the claim because no one could confirm the authorship of the comment.
Mee's defense also said jurors should have been given an instruction about the legal concept of an "independent act" — 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.