The mother of a rap artist who is being held in the Bulloch County Jail on drugs, guns and other charges testified in court Tuesday during a motion to reconsider her son’s denial of bond.
Latabia Woodward, mother of Migos rap group member Kiari Kendall Cephus, also known as “Offset,” said her son had grown up in a stable, loving, two-parent home and that he suffered from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and was pulled from public school in elementary grades to attend a private, and then a military, school.
He did not grow up in a music industry environment and did not face challenges such as poverty or family disunity, she said.
Cephus, jailed April 18 on charges of marijuana possession, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, carrying a weapon in a school safety zone (felony) and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime after a Spring Bling concert at Georgia Southern University’s Hanner Fieldhouse, racked up additional charges May 2 when he reportedly attacked another inmate in the Bulloch County Jail. Sheriff’s reports stated Cephus attacked the other man “unprovoked” after overhearing a conversation between the victim and another inmate.
Cephus was charged with riot in a penal institution and battery. In June, after further investigation, prosecutors added a charge of participation in criminal street gang activity, said Barclay Black, assistant district attorney with the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.
During a bond hearing May 8 for the charges stemming from the concert, Cephus caused a scene when he shouted profanities as he expressed disagreement with Bulloch County Superior Court Judge John R. Turner’s decision to deny bond.
Statesboro attorney Lovett Bennett Jr. asked the court Tuesday to allow Cephus to post bond and return home with his mother.
Woodward said her home is a safe environment where Cephus can prepare for upcoming court hearings. She said he has been keeping up with expenses and bills, including care of his fiancee and 3-month-old baby, using revenues from record sales and other income from his music.
“My husband and I have very strict standards in our home,” she said, adding that she works for Southern Company (Georgia Power) and hold a bachelor’s degree and her husband, a social studies teacher, is working on his doctorate.
She blamed his associates for Cephus’ many criminal arrests and convictions.
“He started to meet friends who were not as motivated,” she said.
She also told the court that Cephus had completed mandates from previous convictions, but when questioned by Black, she admitted Cephus had been arrested for further crimes after completing those probation demands.
“He’s not perfect. He’s 23 and still has some maturing to do, but I’ve seen him grow,”
she said. “He grew up in the church and knows what is right and what is wrong.”
Black asked that bond be denied again.
“What we’re hearing are excuses,” he said.
Turner said he was “impressed” by Woodward’s education and articulate speech but did not announce a decision regarding bond.
“I will take (testimony by the state and by Woodward) under consideration,” he said.
He did not specify when he would make a decision regarding the matter.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.