Jennifer "Hiccup Girl" Mee, co-defendants to get separate murder trials next spring

Published Nov. 19, 2012

LARGO — Three people accused of robbing and killing a man who moved to the area after Hurricane Katrina will not be tried together, a Pinellas County judge decided Monday.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley said defendants Lamont Newton, 24, Laron Raiford, 22, and Jennifer Mee, 21, will get separate trials next spring.

An attorney for Mee, who shot to nationwide fame as a teenager and picked up the nickname "Hiccup Girl," said that will ensure fairness, since all three gave statements to police blaming each other for the October 2010 death of Shannon Griffin, 22.

Griffin had moved from Mississippi to the Tampa Bay area after Hurricane Katrina. His family said he had a job and had enrolled in college classes.

He met Mee online a week before his death. St. Petersburg police said Mee — who drew national notoriety in 2007 for an unceasing bout of hiccups — Newton and Raiford plotted to rob Griffin. Instead he was shot and killed at a vacant home just north of downtown.

Ley set Raiford's trial for April 2, Newton's for April 23 and Mee's for May 14.