In an area overwhelmed by odd crime stories, including felons, banned from owning a firearm, shooting themselves by accident and/or a teacher seemingly weekly having a sexual relationship with a underage student, few stories have struck the area as stranger than the saga of Hiccup Girl, Jennifer Mee. As you will recall, Ms. Mee made national news after she was unable to stop hiccuping when she was 15 years old. About three years later, she again made national news after being arrested for first degree murder along with her two roommates. While this case certainly didn’t receive the national news attention of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, many national news outlets followed the case, including wildabouttrial.com, which closely followed the case.
As details emerged of the arrest, it was alleged that Ms. Mee along with her roommates conspired to have Ms. Mee set up the victim, Shannon Griffin, as if they were going on a date, then the victim was to be robbed. Apparently during the robbery attempt, one of Mee’s roommates decided to shoot and kill the victim. It is important to note family and friends of Mr. Griffin have been adamant about how kind and innocent he was during his tragically short life. Mr. Griffin’s family have been very active in the prosecution and media relations during the prosecution of the case. In fact, his family was actively tweeting to media outlets yesterday while the jury was deliberating.
Ultimately, Ms. Mee was found guilty late yesterday night. Given the conviction on the charge of first degree murder, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley had no choice, but to sentence her to life in a Florida state prison. Ms. Mee was represented by two of the areas best criminal defense attorneys, John Travena and Bryant Camareno. I have personally seen both of these gentlemen work and have absolutely no doubt Ms. Mee received quality representation from these two professionals.
While I was not present during the trial or don’t have any sort of special information about the case, it sounds as though Ms. Mee was the State’s own best witness. As we discuss elsewhere on our criminal defense blog, all communications in and out of county jails are monitored by law enforcement. We advise our clients to never discuss the facts of their case through either telephone communications, visits or writing to their friends and family because those exchanegs are recorded and monitored by law enforcement. As we discuss throughout this blog, there is nothing more frustrating for Tampa criminal defense attorneys than hearing their clients telephone calls being played by the State Attorney’s Office during a criminal trial against their client. Ultimately, the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office admitted a recorded conversation between Ms. Mee and her mother where she attempted to explain “I set everything up” and “it all went wrong.” It is difficult to argue against your own Client’s words immediately right after the arrest.
From a legal perspective, this case is interesting in the sense that involves Florida’s felony murder rule. This rule essentially holds that if a death occurs during the course of several identified within the Felony Murder Statute, the accused is charged with first degree murder. Most often, the specific felonies involve either violence or the distribution of specific drugs. This Statute is somewhat controversial because it penalizes individuals for crimes and events that they may have had no intent to commit. Even worse, an individual can be charges based solely on the acts of codefendant, like during a robbery if a codefendant were to shoot a witness. This is extremely frustrating for Tampa criminal defense attorneys because it places our clients in very difficult positions by having to essentially defend the actions of others.
If you have any questions about the trial of Jennifer Mee or Florida’s felony murder rule, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We appreciate your time and thank you for checking out our blog.