Tina Farrington is facing life behind bars for allegedly smothering her young daughter and dumping the body in a trash bin – but she is still picking a family-court fight with the girl’s father, a Miami Beach cop.
One day after she was arrested for murder, Farrington appeared in Miami-Dade family court on Tuesday to signal she still wants a restraining order against Leon Paige on five-month-old allegations that he hit their youngest son with a belt.
She appeared in handcuffs and a red jail jumpsuit, guarded by corrections officers. Paige appeared in a blue dress shirt, supported by over a dozen Miami Beach cops watching from the courtroom gallery.
A Miami-Dade judge set a December court date for Farrington to purse her claims. She wants a restraining order that would bar Paige from contact with her and their son, who is now living with her mother since the arrest.
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None of the lawyers involved would speak to reporters but his lawyer told the judge: “All the allegations are hearsay allegations. There is no corroborating evidence.”
At the December hearing, the Florida Department of Children and Families will also recommend where it thinks their son should live –with him, or with Farrington’s mother.
The restraining order hearing was a twist in a wrenching tragedy. Farrington, 31, was charged early Monday with murdering 4-year-old Taina Paige. Detectives say she “lured” the girl into a bedroom after she talked back to her on Halloween night, then hid the body in her car trunk for days before discarding the corpse in a trash bin at her apartment complex.
Through her criminal defense attorney, Steven Yermish, she has already pleaded not guilty. Her arraignment in criminal court is set for Nov. 27, and she’ll remain jailed while awaiting trial.
Farrington and Paige were never married and do not live together. Their 2-year-old son was not harmed.
It was back in June that Farrington filed for a restraining order on behalf of the son after claiming Paige was abusing the child. She claimed that Leon Paige hit the boy with a belt and that the man had dropped the child off at daycare with “knots on his head,” according to a petition. He was not arrested.
Leon Paige is “abusive physically and psychologically,” Farrington claimed. She also contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families, which launched an investigation that ultimately found no signs of abuse.
A Miami-Dade circuit judge granted a temporary restraining order, although Leon Paige was allowed to have supervised visits with the children two times a week until the legal case was resolved. Circuit Judge Maria Caballero on Tuesday allowed Paige to see his son three times a week, under supervision.
How the ongoing family court fight played into her mindset during the death of Taina remains unclear. Farrington gave a full confession, Miami-Dade police said. Farrington’s arrest report suggests that Taina had long been the victim of abuse — bruises were discovered on the girl’s arms, legs and torso.
Farrington had other troubles. On Oct. 23, less than two weeks before the killing, Farrington was ordered evicted from her home at the Tuscany Place after she stopped paying rent in July. A judge last week signed an order allowing police to remove her from the home, although she had yet to be evicted.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Miami Beach police asked that the officer’s privacy be respected.
“We send our deepest condolences and prayers to Officer Leon Paige and his family on the loss of his daughter,” the statement read.
Paige has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses for his daughter.
Before his time with Miami Beach police, he worked for the Florida Highway Patrol. In 2016 he was involved in an incident on the Palmetto Expressway where a 40-year-old man jumped on the hood of a woman’s car.
Paige, an FHP spokesman told WPLG-10, was working an off-duty job with an asphalt company at the time and was forced to deploy his Taser to subdue the man. The man was standing on the car with a knife in his mouth and ignored the trooper’s orders.