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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Crime & Courts

‘Hiccup Girl’ co-defendant found guilty in slaying


Published:

CLEARWATER — A jury late Friday found Laron Raiford guilty of first-degree murder in the 2010 slaying of Shannon Griffin, whom prosecutors say Raiford and two accomplices had planned to rob but ultimately shot to death during a struggle.

Raiford was sentenced to life in prison.

At this week’s trial, Assistant State Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo said Raiford and his accused accomplices hatched the plan to lure Griffin, 22, to a St. Petersburg alleyway, promising to sell him $60 worth of marijuana, and then rob him.

The plan went awry when Griffin resisted and was shot four times in the chest.

Raiford was the first of three suspects charged in Griffin’s Oct. 23, 2010, death to stand trial. One of his co-defendants, Jennifer Mee, three years earlier had received national media attention and became known as “Hiccup Girl” because she could not stop hiccupping for five weeks.

In the slaying case, Mee is accused of setting up the would-be robbery by luring Griffin to the alley after meeting him on a social networking site.

Mee and her boyfriend, Lamont Newton, will be tried separately at future dates.

In Pinellas Circuit Court this week, Raiford’s attorney, Edward Liebling, had maintained his client is mentally disabled and thus potentially incriminating comments he made to investigators should not be used as evidence against him.

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