‘Hiccup girl’ charged in man’s slaying

October 26th, 2010 by Staff

MIAMI — Floridians frequently become famous either for heinous crimes or odd achievements, like building the world’s largest rubber-band ball. Rarely, however, do the two intersect, which is why the Sunshine State marveled Monday at the sad life of Jennifer Mee.

Mee, one may recall, was the “hiccup girl” of 2007 — the teenager from Tampa whose nonstop hiccups, up to 50 times a minute for six weeks, caught the attention of the nation. Now she is back in the spotlight, facing murder charges.

Police in St. Petersburg say that Mee, 19, lured Shannon Griffin, 22, to a home there Saturday, where two male accomplices — Laron C. Raiford, 20, and Lamont Newton, 22 — tried to rob him. When Griffin resisted, he was shot four times and killed, the police said

Mee, Raiford and Newton are all charged with first-degree murder. A judge ordered them held Monday without bail.

The police said in a statement that the three had admitted their involvement, but the authorities did not divulge who was accused of pulling the trigger.

Mee’s unusual condition landed her on NBC’s “Today Show” in 2007 and got her a hug from country star Keith Urban.

She tried home remedies and consulted specialists, a hypnotist and an acupuncturist, until the hiccups stopped on their own.

But her life fell into disarray when the hiccups finally stopped five weeks after they started. She ran away from home twice and her family has sued a hiccup-cure company for allegedly using her image for profit without permission.

“I’ve said for a while now, her case of the hiccups wasn’t a case of the hiccups, it was a curse of the hiccups,” Rachel Robidoux, Mee’s mother, said in a radio interview in Tampa.

“I don’t think she knew what was going to happen, because that’s not Jennifer,” Robidoux said. “She’s not out to hurt anyone.”

“All of a sudden people knew her name and she would talk to them on different chat sites, and they would act like they knew her when they didn’t,” Robidoux said. “She’s very naive, and I just think she was getting herself into stuff when she didn’t know what she was doing.”

On her MySpace page, Mee describes herself as a “female version of a hustla” and adds that “her heart is still in Vermont,” where her father lives. She last logged into her page Sunday.

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