A Florida woman who became famous as a teen for her uncontrollable hiccupping was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the shooting death of Shannon Griffin.
It only took a Pinellas County jury four hours Friday night to deliberate before delivering the guilty verdict against 22-year-old Jennifer Mee, the Associated Press reported.
According to Tampa Bay Times, Mee, and some of the jurors, burst into tears as the verdict was read in the courtroom. Minutes later, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley explained that the only possible sentence for the charge was life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In closing arguments, the prosecution painted Mee as not the mastermind of murder, but a willing participant whom officials say lured the 22-year-old victim to an abandoned home in October 2010, under the pretense of buying marijuana, local station WTSP news reported.
"She was the bait," said prosecutor Jan Olney pointing directly at Jennifer Mee. "She was the bait that lured Shannon Griffin to a back alley that was dark where two of her cohorts waited."
Once there, two of Mee's friends robbed him at gunpoint — but Griffin struggled and was shot four times, WESH news in Florida reported.
The defense argued the evidence proving Mee's involvement in Griffin's death simply wasn't there, WTSP writes.
"What witnesses do you have? What documents show that Jennifer Mee, not someone else, but Jennifer Mee had a conscious intent for the robbery to be done," Mee's defense attorney John Trevena asked.
As a 15-year-old, Mee developed a case of the hiccups that wouldn't go away. Videos of her hiccupping, and of her trying to quell the hiccups, gained her national attention.
Now at age 22, prosecutor Olney said Mee gained attention during the five-day trial in a different way: Mee became the prosecution's "star witness," she said
That's because prosecutors said Mee set everything up and acknowledged that fact on tape when she was first arrested and called her mother from the Pinellas County Jail.
During the recorded call, she told her mother that she did not pull the trigger of the gun that killed Griffin, but that she was charged with murder.
"Because I set everything up," Mee explained during the call that was played for the jury. "It all went wrong, Mom. It just went downhill."
After the verdict, Mee's mother declined to talk to media.
Griffin's mother and cousin, however, did express their relief at the guilty verdict.
"It is just too much right now because we are still grieving and we just wanted it to be about him," Shanna Griffin told ABC Action News.
Mee has 30 days to appeal her conviction.
Mee's co-defendant, LaRon Raiford, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in August, the AP said. Lamont Newton, the other co-defendant who was also Mee's boyfriend at the time of the crime, has not yet gone to trial, according to the AP.