Now she’s in prison, but back when she was in high school, Jennifer Mee became an overnight social media sensation when she started hiccupping in science class and couldn’t stop for a full five weeks.
This audio from February 2007 (see above) shows just how intrusive the spasms were. Despite her genuine struggle with the hiccups that just wouldn’t stop, after Mee was invited on television talk shows and everyone knew her story, people began to accuse her of faking her issue to get attention.
At the time of her sudden fame, it wasn’t known that Mee actually suffered emotional problems.
The book One Breath Away, by veteran true crime author M. William Phelps explores mee’s very real problems before everyone knew her name. It turns out that she was the victim of daily rapes by two men for two years during her childhood in St. Petersburg, Florida. Mee’s family had little money and she shared a bedroom with her four little sisters. She started dealing drugs, including crack, at the age of 13. Her teenage boyfriend beat her viciously once, causing a miscarriage with a punch to the stomach. Later, she would be diagnosed with Tourette syndrome.
Mee began hiccuping on Jan. 23, 2007, and the spasms in her chest were painful. Kids at school accused of faking, just as strangers would after she was given airtime on television. She was on the “Today” show and “Good Morning, America” with experts, none of whom could help her get rid of her painful hiccups.
Mee was finally cured after five weeks by Debbie Lane, a hypnotist who worked with her for three hours. Lane said that when she cured Mee, her mother’s reaction was strangely muted — almost disappointed. Lane would also later say that while she didn’t think Mee had been faking and that the hiccups had been “Jennifer’s way of getting that attention she had sought all her life.”
After Mee’s five minutes of fame were over, she returned to selling drugs again and had the plan to build up a drug-empire. She began dating a rapper named Lamont Newton and arranged with Newton’s best friend, Laron Raiford (she was also secretly sleeping with him) to set up robbery victims by making dates with the victims online.
This is the set-up that lead to the murder of 22-year-old Shannon Griffin. Mee had met him online and either arranged a date or offered to sell him weed, with the intention that Newton and Raiford would rob him. Raiford brought a gun, and when the two of them grabbed Griffin, he fought back. By the end of the fight, Griffin was dead, with five gunshots to the chest.
As the person who lured him to the scene of the murder, Mee was found guilty of first-degree murder, and sentenced to life without parole. After interviewing Mee just after the murder, the lead detective on the case wrote in his report, “It should be noted at no time did [she] hiccup.”
To get the full story of what happened that fated day, watch the interview below with Mee herself: