Tina Farrington was losing. She was losing her apartment; court records reveal she was just days away from being evicted, along with her children, Taina and Levi Paige.
She had lost her job, telling a court in July she was unemployed.
And she was beginning to lose total control of Taina, 4, and Levi, 2, after their father made some headway in their bitter paternity and custody dispute.
That was the backdrop as, police say, Farrington lured Taina into a bedroom and smothered her with a pillow, stashing the body in her car trunk for days before throwing the body in her apartment complex Dumpster last weekend.
Police say Farrington told them her daughter had been sassy.
Now she’s in jail on a first-degree murder charge, while Levi today was ordered to stay with his maternal grandmother while the court sorts out the latest allegations Farrington lobbed at Leon Paige, when she sought domestic violations injunctions against him in July.
One of three petitions for injunction she filed in July was dismissed – the judge finding there was insufficient evidence that Paige was threatening Farrington, as she claimed.
But injunctions Farrington sought on behalf of Taina and Levi that same day were temporarily granted and Paige was forbidden from contacting his children for 11 days.
In the petitions, Farrington claimed Taina cried and said she didn’t want to visit her father because he hit her in the face. And she claimed Paige beat Levi with a belt and scratched his face. "Daddy did it," she quoted Taina as saying when asked how her brother was hurt.
In court filings, Paige alleges Farrington fabricated all her claims as "retaliation and a pathetically transparent attempt" to divert attention from her failure to abide by court orders allowing Paige contact with his children.
"This is but the latest extreme stunt by the mother to continue her pattern of systematically interfering” with Paige’s relationships with his children, the court filing argues.
On August 8, the judge modified the temporary injunction so Paige could see them under supervision.
But the $200 cost of supervision per visit was prohibitive, his attorney told a juvenile court judge today. That fee, combined with the $1,475 monthly child support he was paying, was too much drain on his $37,000 salary as a Miami Beach police officer, she said.
On Tuesday, a judge allowed him three visits a week with Levi, under DCF supervision, until a final hearing can be held in December.
While Farrington’s claims effectively shut him out of contact with his children, Paige was preparing for a December hearing, where he could have sought greater custody rights.
Paige’s legal posture was getting more aggressive – and, when it comes to Farrington’s veracity, he had a prior court ruling on his side.
In September 2016, a judge ordered the parents should share responsibility for major decisions in the kids’ lives – and share custody: each parent was to have the children five days a week on alternating weeks.
Farrington repeatedly asked the judge to reconsider, but was denied.
Her claims that Paige was an absent father who only wanted more time with the children to reduce his child support "is not supported by the evidence," the judge wrote, adding Farrington’s testimony "is not credible."
Neither was the complaint that Paige abused Levi – something Farrington complained to DCF about. The agency said it was unfounded.
In the court filings, Paige said DCF continues to look into another false Farrington complaint: that Taina was touched sexually by another child during visitation with Paige. The other child’s family denies any inappropriate touching occurred.