Jennifer Mee, the woman who gained notoriety at age 15 when she mysteriously could not stop hiccupping, is on trial for 1st degree murder in Florida for the death of 22-year-old Wal-Mart worker Shannon Griffin. Mee was allegedly part of a plot with three other suspects that led to Griffin’s murder.
Mee, now 22, was deemed fit to stand trial, even after her attorney argued that she suffers from Tourette syndrome and also recently discovered that she is schizophrenic. Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that involves uncontrollable, repetitive movements called “tics.” Her incessant hiccups were a symptom of her Tourette syndrome. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that causes people to interpret reality abnormally. It can result in hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking.
According to the Miami Herald, Mee accepted a friend request from Griffin five days before the robbery in 2010. She arranged for him to meet her at a location where she told him that he could buy marijuana. But when Griffin arrived at the agreed upon location, Mee’s friends robbed him at gunpoint. A struggle ensued, and Griffin was killed.
The issue in the case is whether Mee, who the state concedes was unarmed, was an innocent bystander or played an active role in planning the robbery that led to Griffin’s death. The state’s prosecutors allege that Mee knew exactly what she was doing.
"She set everything up," Assistant State Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo said in his opening argument. "There was, in fact, no marijuana to be sold. In fact, instead of marijuana they had a loaded .38-special handgun with six shots in it."
But Mee’s attorneys say that since she was not even at the scene when the killing took place, it’s unfair to charge her with 1st degree murder for the killing. In Florida (and many other states), a person can be charged with first degree murder if someone is killed in the process of a felony offense that they contributed to executing.
"She is not at that scene," said attorney John Trevena, "but they want you to convict her of murder in the first-degree based on their theory that Ms. Mee was setting up a marijuana deal that somehow went bad."
Mee gained notoriety in 2007 when she appeared on different media outlets in search of a cure for her hiccups. Now she’s appearing on those same networks to declare her innocence.