Judge Rules On Guardian For Martoiya Lang’s Children

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(Memphis) Probate Judge Robert Benham decided against both Darius Lang and his mother-in-law Vivian Woods Taylor in the custody dispute over the children fallen Memphis Police officer Martoiya Lang.

Guardianship was granted to their maternal grandfather, Marvin Woods.

Lang was shot and killed while executing a search warrant on December 14, 2012.

Since then, there has been a bitter custody dispute over who gets Officer Lang's four children.

The three oldest are Darius' biological daughters. It is unknown who fathered the fourth child.

Judge Benham said Marvin Woods was the, "best person to get all if the parties together."

Benham said Woods had been there for the girls when it was most needed.

Woods is now the guardian who will decide where the girls live and where they go to school. He will present a plan to the court in the next 45 days.

Benham, who delayed his retirement 12 days to finish the case, said neither Darius Lang or Vivian Woods Taylor should have custody.

"They will look into their personal interest and not the best interest of the children and that's the bottom line, " said Benham about the two.

Woods Taylor is divorced from Marvin Woods.

The court did not like her decision to not let Officer Lang's children attend their mother's funeral.

Judge Benham said Woods Taylor was, "was extremely defensive and hostile, as hostile as any witness I've seen in my 48 years," during her testimony.

He also said Darius had a "strange" way of showing love for his late wife and daughters,
"His assertions about how much he thought about his wife and how broken up he was over her death. But fact the is in August on 2012 he helped conceive another child with another woman."

Darius owes more than $11,000 in child support and will have to pay support for all four of Martoiya's daughters now.

As for the nearly $1 million in death benefits and fundraisers, that money will go through the court.

"The guardian of the estate is Judy Self. She doesn't even have the money. The money is placed in the clerks office and not one penny could be spent unless their is a court order authorizing the expenditure," added Benham.

Benham said he hoped with counseling, now the girls could begin to heal, "These girls are a lot smarter than anybody gives them credit for being. They are very, very impressive. I'm amazed that they are in as of good of shape as they are considering what they've gone through. But they are really bright and if the adults would listen to them we wouldn't have had 7 days of trial."

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