The infamous Hiccup Girl, Jennifer Mee’s attorney has put a major hiccup in the opening statement of her murder trial that left the Judge speechless.
During Tuesday’s opening statements is when her attorney, John Trevina, informed the court he recently discovered Ms. Mee had been diagnosed with schizophrenia sending Circuit Court Judge Nancy Moate into a tailspin.
Attorney Trevina apologized to the court that he was not privy to this information until Tuesday, the day of opening statements. Mee’s schizophrenia condition was discovered when going through her financial records and finding his client had been receiving social security payments because of this condition.
A specialist is being brought to do a medical analysis, but if Mee is diagnosed with schizophrenia, it could take years of rehabilitation in a treatment center before the suspect is fit for trial and can understand the criminal charges against her.
In 2007, Mee’s instant fame began at the young age of 15 when she developed the hiccups that she could not shed. The hiccup-afflicted girl tried everything from hypnosis, home remedies, acupuncture, and possibly a Halloween scare or two, with no success.
The media got hold of a video of her hiccupping at a rate of 50 hiccups per minute and made Jennifer Mee into a household name, the girl we all know as the Hiccup Girl.
Gaining national attention, Jennifer appeared on several shows, including the Today Show, Keith Urban co-guested on the show with Mee that day. After her sad and hiccup-frustrated story, the country singer gave her a courageous hug that she must have misplaced somewhere in the back of her memory as her next national performance landed the Hiccup girl in a Florida jail.
No longer having the hiccups, the problem went away by itself, Mee again gained more national attention. In 2010 the Hiccup Girl was arrested for first-degree murder. Mr. Shannon Griffin, a 22-year old Walmart employee, was out to purchase some cannabis from Mee. However, Mee’s intent wasn’t to sell the illegal drug, but was to rob Griffin.
Griffin had met Mee when she sent an invite request to him through a social networking site for which he accepted. As new friends, Mee then persuaded Griffin down a dark St. Petersburg alley to an old abandoned house for the alleged $60 marijuana deal. Instead of the sale of the drug, two of the Hiccup Girl’s accomplices attempted to rob Griffin at gunpoint.
Griffin was not about to let the thugs take his hard-earned $60 cash and struggled with the aggressors. Instead of befriending Griffin in the alley that night, he was shot and killed.
In August, one of the gunmen, LaRon Raiford, was sentenced to life in prison. The other male accomplice, Lamont Newton, Mee’s boyfriend at the time of the robbery, is still awaiting trial.
Mee’s defense is that she was a bystander only and had nothing to do with the robbery. She told prosecutors in 2011 that the gun dispute was over a romantic score between Shannon Griffin and LaRon Raiford concerning his girlfriend, but changed her story stating she was only an innocent bystander.
Along with startling the court with her, until then, unknown schizophrenia during opening statements of the Hiccup Girl’s murder trial, Attorney Trevino also advised the judge that Mee had also been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disease which creates involuntary muscle movements.
Now that the hiccup issue has been diagnosed, Attorney Trevino feels that the Tourette Syndrome may also be the reason for Ms. Mee making poor choices and decisions in her life long pursuits. However, this hypothesis will not be used as defense in the trial.
Being considered a high-profile inmate, Mee has been jailed in isolation since October 2010. Her hiccups have returned and the Hiccup Girl is taking Thorazine as treatment.
Mee is entitled to a possible murder conviction if found guilty. Florida law states that robbery and killing together equates to murder, for which the girl appeared somber in court on Tuesday as the Judge stated the charges filed against her.
With the new information that Mee is possibly schizophrenic, the Judge called a recess to discuss how the court will proceed. From the onset of the trial, the Judge advised jurors to plan for the trial to wrap up at the end of the week.
However in light of the new information brought forth the murder trial’s opening statements, the schizophrenic hiccup presented by Mee’s attorney may delay the trial for years.
Written by Lisa Graziano