Judge Sides with Usher After Near Drowning
R&B singer Usher and his ex-wife, Tameka Foster Raymond, faced off in an Atlanta courtroom Friday afternoon at an “emergency” hearing called in the wake of this week’s pool accident involving their son, Usher V, 5. Raymond was asking for the couple’s custody agreement to be changed.
The singer won primary custody of the two boys they have together in 2012, following a years-long battle. The two split in 2008 and were divorced in 2009.
Usher wanted the petition dismissed so that he can retain custody of Usher V and his brother, Naviyd, 4. The children are “thriving,” Usher’s lawyer, John Mayoue, told the court, noting that Usher V is “expected to be discharged on Sunday” from an Atlanta hospital.
After nearly two hours, Usher emerged victorious. Fulton County, Ga., Superior Court Judge John Goger dismissed the petition. Ultimately, Superior Court Judge John Goger sided with Usher and left the existing custody agreement intact.
In dismissing the custody motion, the judge noted that Raymond appeared to have very high standards for caregivers — she’d questioned whether Usher’s Aunt Rena Oden, who was babysitting at the time of the accident, had a CPR certificate — and reminded her that many people leave children in the care of family members.
Goger said he wasn’t certain anyone could have prevented the accident Monday, in which little Usher jumped in the pool after a toy and became stuck in a drain at the bottom. The boy was eventually pulled from the water and given CPR by a contractor working at the home, after his aunt, a housekeeper and another contractor tried unsuccessfully to free him.
The afternoon’s courtroom drama included emotional testimony, with Raymond breaking down at one point after the 911 pool accident call was played, saying, “The whole scene was chaos!” She tried to point a finger at Oden, who is often with the kids and who was there on Monday when Usher V got his arm stuck in an underwater drain. “I don’t believe she had any control over the kids!” Raymond told the court.
A frustrated Raymond admitted that she doesn’t really know what goes on with her sons. “I don’t know where my children are. I don’t know who my children are with … I don’t know the phone number to the house where they are. I’ve never seen the house. I don’t know a lot.”
Goger suggested to Usher that “in the future you would be well advised to keep your former spouse advised about your whereabouts and who is taking care of the kids.”
And when it ended, Usher and Raymond hugged.
On his website, Usher said “I am blessed and fortunate to say that my son Usher V is doing well and is recovering. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayers, love and support for my family’s well-being. I would like to thank my Aunt Rena as well as the doctors and nurses who are working with us around the clock. I’d especially like to thank the two men who saved my son’s life, Eugene Stachurski and Ben Crews. They are true heroes and I am deeply grateful to them.”
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.