Hiccup Girl's Murder Defense: She Has Tourette's, Says Lawyer

Jennifer Mee, 19, faces first degree murder charge and possibly execution.

ByABC News
October 25, 2010, 12:20 PM

Oct. 26, 2010— -- The lawyer, for a Florida teen famous for her non-stop hiccupping and now facing trial for murder, says he may employ an unusual defense for his client – she has Tourette's syndrome.

Jennifer Mee, 19, has been charged with first degree murder. Police accuse Mee of luring a young man she met online to a home in St. Petersburg to be robbed. When the victim, Shannon Griffin, 22, allegedly resisted Mee and her two accomplices, he was shot multiple times in the upper body, according to police.

"Hiccups are a symptom of Tourette's," her lawyer John Trevena told the Associated Press without explaining how Tourettes would qualify as a legal defense in a murder case. Calls by ABC News to Trevena were not returned.

Mee is currently being held without bond and in protective isolation at the Pinellas County Jail because she is a high-profile inmate. The AP said Travena described her as "distraught."

Mee and the two men, Laron Raiford, 20, and Lamont Newton, 22, confessed to police and were charged with first degree murder, a crime which can carry the death penalty in Florida, police said.

Police said Mee did not pull the trigger, but under Florida law her involvement in a robbery that turned to murder makes her subject to a first degree charge.

Mee, known as "the hiccup girl," became fodder for countless water cooler conversations in 2007 after her condition made headlines and she appeared several times on NBC's "Today Show" to discuss her chronic hiccups. Mee hiccupped virtually non-stop for more than a month, up to 50 times a minute.

The hiccups ultimately stopped, her family has said, because she was treated with drugs used to treat Tourette's.

Mee was in court Monday, but did not enter a plea.

"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," Mee's mother, Rachel Robidoux, told a radio show in Tampa on Monday.

After Mee's short-lived notoriety for her hiccups, her life began to spiral downward, police said.

"Over the last year, since she turned 18, we've had probably over a dozen contacts with her," Major Mike Kovacsev, told ABC's "Good Morning America."