The New Orleans-bred rapper Juvenile has been jailed after a judge found he owes $150,000 in child support payments.
Following a performance Friday, Teruis Gray, 42, who performs under the name Juvenile, was booked into New Orleans' jail in the early-morning hours Saturday on orders of Civil Court Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott.
Ervin-Knott ruled in May that Gray must spend either 30 days in jail or pay his child support debt to Dionne Williams, who has a son with the rapper.
Court records say the amount Gray was jailed over is tied to 2012 and 2013 rulings that determined he was about $170,000 behind in his payments to Williams as of that time. He then paid $20,000 of that amount to her in April, court records said.
Williams accuses Gray in court records of failing to pay more than $71,000 in child support payments between 2013 and last month, but it does not appear from the court filings that Ervin-Knott has ruled on that argument. Gray also skipped several court hearings in the case, Williams' attorney Doug Howard said.
Gray's first name is spelled "Terius" in countless media reports, but court documents spell it "Teruis."
Judges in Louisiana have authority to jail people who fail to pay child support, though it is not commonly done because it is more difficult for defendants to gather the money they owe from behind bars.
However, judges presiding over child support cases have been known to jail defendants in arrears who may have more economic means than average people as a last-ditch effort to force payment.
New Orleans native Juvenile allegedly attacked a man at a South Carolina Waffle House Friday…
Gray had a well-publicized 9 p.m. concert at Southport Hall in Jefferson on Friday. He was taken into custody shortly after completing the show at the venue, two sources with knowledge of the circumstances told The New Orleans Advocate.
Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office Deputy Warren Woorfork Jr. placed Gray under arrest. His office provides security for the city's courthouses and is one of the agencies that serves arrest warrants issued by them.
A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office deputy working a detail at Southport Hall was made aware of the warrant out for Gray's arrest and agreed to participate in the collar, said that agency's spokesman, Col. John Fortunato.
Howard on Saturday thanked the Sheriff's Office for jailing Gray, saying, "This shows the system works no matter who you are."
The attorney whose name is listed as representing Gray said he doesn't represent the rapper anymore and has filed to withdraw from the case. Gray was scheduled to perform in Houston on Saturday alongside fellow New Orleans rapper Mystikal.
Gray helped launch the Cash Money Records label to national prominence with the multiplatinum album "400 Degreez" in 1998, which included the legendary New Orleans bounce anthem "Back That Azz Up." Along with artists Lil Wayne, B.G. and Young Turk, he formed part of the well-known rapper crew known as the Hot Boys.
He also had a No. 1 single more recently with 2004's "Slow Motion," which featured the slain New Orleans rap star who performed under the name Soulja Slim.
Gray's personal life has not been spared legal troubles and tragedy.
He pleaded guilty in 2003 to a charge of theft in New Orleans and was told to pay a fine as well as restitution to the victim in the case. And he was jailed in Florida in 2006 as part of a child support investigation but was released after he gave a DNA sample for a paternity test.
In 2008, a daughter of Gray was killed in Georgia along with other family members by her half-brother. Gray is accused of attacking a man at a South Carolina Waffle House last year over a remark that was insulting to Gray's wife.