Back in 2007 Jennifer Mee made the rounds on our social media feed; many of us will remember her from some popular television morning shows, or even the evening news. Jennifer had suffered the hiccups for more than a month, hiccuping up to 50 times per minute. She seemed like such a sweetheart, people just loved the girl – and then she was arrested for murder. Where did it all go wrong?
Saint Petersburg, Florida-
Jennifer had grown up in poverty, the eldest of 5 sisters; as a girl she had been the victim of ongoing sexual abuse. Jennifer had found herself a boyfriend at age 13, but he’d been abusive; this boy has beaten Jennifer in the stomach while she was pregnant, leading her to miscarry. At age 15 Jennifer started to hiccup uncontrollably, she just couldn’t stop; the teenager couldn’t eat, she couldn’t sleep, she had chest pain, these hiccups really disrupted her life. Jennifer had been dealing with ongoing depression (other issues such as schizophrenia and a below normal intelligence were later determined by a court psychiatrist) and the bullying from kids at school became too much to bear. They teased that she had only been hiccuping for attention. Jennifer tried every home remedy under the sun, and eventually a local news station caught wind of her story. From there she was bombarded with attention; the Today show flew her all the way to New York, as rival shows did their best to catch her story. She got to meet popular country singer Keith Urban, and her family was treated to vacations and expensive amusement park tickets.
She became somewhat of a celebrity, especially locally. The teen saw a doctor who prescribed medication, an acupuncturist, a hypnotist, you name it; turns out that the hiccups had been a symptom of the girl’s tourettes. Finally, after 5 weeks of non stop hiccuping, it mostly stopped; some days she would still hiccup, but it was never for weeks on end again.
Jennifer had felt a bit of fame, but it had been short lived. At the age of 18 she’d moved out of her mother’s home and began couch surfing.
Soon the teen met a young man by the name of Lamont Newton; he had been a hustler with a good deal of street credit, and the two began dating. Lamont’s friends accepted her, and she finally fit in somewhere; perhaps most importantly, nobody dared to bully Jennifer anymore. The couple rented an apartment with Lamont’s best friend, LaRon Raiford (who Jennifer was secretly having a physical affair with) and his girlfriend. Together the couples partied constantly, sold copious amounts of illegal substances, and did whatever else they could to get their money.
In October of 2010, Jennifer had been conversing with a man she’d met on the then-popular social media network, Mocospace. His name was Shannon Griffin; the saddest part about this whole case is hearing what a truly decent young man Shannon was. The 22 year old was one of so many who’d been displaced after losing everything to hurricane Katrina. A year prior he had moved from Mississippi to Florida with live with his older cousin; he’d quickly found employment with Walmart, and he’d been working his hardest, doing his very best to lift himself up. Shannon had held his job for a full year and was currently taking a well deserved week’s paid vacation.
On this particular Saturday night, October 23rd, Shannon had planned to go out on the town. Doug Bolden says he remembers being thrilled to see his younger cousin all dressed up and smelling good in anticipation of the night to come. You see, this had been rare for Shannon: when this young man wasn’t at work, he had always been home; he wasn’t the type to do drugs, he was just a good man with a really great work ethic. He’d been in high spirits that night; Shannon was going out to meet a girl who he seemed to be be very interested in.
Sadly Jennifer hadn’t been looking for a date, not really – it had all been a set up. She’d searched for her potential prey on Mocospace, met Shannon, and had drawn him in. She’d flirted with him for several days, then offered to sell him some marijuana – but bring weed into it? To ensure that the unsuspecting Shannon had cash on him that night. Jennifer met the young man outside an apartment complex; they stood there and flirted for a bit, then Jennifer said she wanted to go someplace quieter. At this time she lead Shannon to an alleyway where Lamont and LaRon had been awaiting. Once the men had made their presence known, Jennifer simply walked away.
The plan had been to beat Shannon up and take his money, but it didn’t go down that way. See, Shannon was a good man, but he wasn’t one to lay down without a fight; there was no way in hell he was ever going to hand his hard earned money over to some criminals! Shannon was a good man, but he was tough; he fought back, and even though it had been two against one, it it does not appear that Shannon was losing. During the struggle, this good young man with everything going for him was shot 3 times in the chest and once in the shoulder with LaRon’s .38. He was discovered lying in that alley way later that night by a man walking his dog.
After this senseless murder, the men took what they wanted from Shannon and ran off into the darkness. The victim’s stolen wallet and cell phone were placed inside a plastic baggie, and hidden in an air vent inside the bathroom of an abandoned building. After the discovery of Shannon’s corpse, police canvassed the area and discovered these items. Jennifer’s prints were on her victim’s drivers license, and she was found to have been amongst the last of which the dead man had spoken to.
On October 25th of 2010, Jennifer and her lovers were arrested; while she and her boyfriend had denied everything that had happened, LaRon sang like a bird. He stated that while the murder had not been planned, the same could not be said for the robbery; the man also stated that Jennifer had not simply been involved in the crime, but but that she’d been the mastermind. Now, by Florida law, if someone dies while committing a felony such as armed robbery, it doesn’t matter who fired the gun – everyone involved in the crime is equally guilty.
Jennifer and her lovers were each charged with 1st degree murder; the sentence for this crime was either life without parole, or the death penalty. The prosecution claimed that their star witness in this case had been Jennifer herself; she had called her mama soon after her arrest and stated, “I didn’t kill nobody. I set everything up. It all went wrong, Mom.” and that was all the jury needed to hear. On September 20th of 2013, a 22 year old Jennifer was found guilty of murder. She was sentenced to life without parole, as were Lamont and LaRon. It’s said that Jennifer hiccuped during her trial.
Today Jennifer seems have adjusted well to prison life. She does seem remorseful; Jennifer says that she hates being called a murderer because her intention was never to kill, she did not want Shannon dead. Most seem to agree that, while she should’ve been sentenced to hard time, life without parole is much too harsh. Either way, a good young man with so much to offer lost his life, and that wouldn’t have happened had Jennifer not lured him to that alley.
Do you think this is a fair punishment? Is Jennifer just as guilty as her male counterparts?
*I want to thank my newest Patreon Patrons this month: BeeJay, Bailey, Kaycie, Isabella, and Bria! My Patrons (where through one time donations or Patreon) are what keep me going, y’all are the reason I work so hard! There will be a new Patreon post up in the next day or two 💙