Tamika Lorde got a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend Trent Diggs in October. Two months later, prosecutors said he stabbed her to death in her Thonotosassa apartment.
“She loved him, but he didn’t love her. He killed her. All he did is beat her and abuse her during the whole relationship,” Lorde’s mother Mattie LaPorte said in her first TV interview.
Shortly after Lorde met Diggs in November 2020, LaPorte said she had a bad feeling about her daughter’s new boyfriend.
“He could fool people,” she said. “But he couldn’t fool me.”
LaPorte said the physical and emotional abuse her daughter experienced began early in their relationship.
“I think it was January he gave her a black eye,” she said.
According to court documents, Lorde tried to give Diggs another chance after he went to jail for three months for hitting her. But by October 2021, she made a desperate plea to the court during her second petition for injunction for protection against domestic violence.
“In her restraining order, she said, I am scared please help me. If he don’t hurt me, he gonna kill me,” LaPorte said.
LaPorte told News Channel 8 a friend last spoke to her daughter on Dec. 8.
“She said when she was talkin to Tamika before the phone went dead, she heard Tamika say, ‘Trent leave me alone’ and the phone went dead,” LaPorte said.
When LaPorte went to her daughter’s home, she said she could see blood through a window. Hillsborough County deputies found the 30-year-old mother of three stabbed at least 13 times.
“My daughter felt a whole lot of pain before she passed,” LaPorte said.
News Channel 8 spoke by phone with Malik Cooper, the father of Lorde’s 7-year-old son.
“I wouldn’t wish that on nobody,” Cooper said of what happened to Lorde. “It hurts me to my heart that my son’s mother is not here right now. Me and Tamika were actually talking about trying to clear everything up and get back together and do what we had to do for the kids.”
Authorities said Diggs stole Lorde’s car and fled out of state. After LaPorte reported the Chevy Cruze stolen, law enforcement caught up with him in New Mexico in December. He was extradited back to Florida in January.
“This man terrorized and murdered his victim, then tried to slip away. Thanks to great collaboration across law enforcement, we can now bring him to justice and hold him accountable for the life he took and the void he has created in the lives of the victim’s family and friends,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said.
Prosecutors said at the time of his capture, Diggs had fresh cuts to his hand, his victim’s stolen purse and blood on his shoes from the murder scene.
A judge granted the state’s request for pretrial detention. Diggs, 29, will stand trial for first-degree premeditated murder with a weapon, armed burglary of a dwelling, grand theft motor vehicle and violation of a domestic violence injunction.
At the time a Hillsborough Grand Jury indicted Diggs, the State Attorney’s Office did not say whether it will seek the death penalty.
“Justice for Tamika is for him to have a life sentence in prison with no chance of being paroled,” LaPorte said. “He needs to see the hurt he need to just play over and over in his head what he did to my daughter.”
LaPorte said she plans to write a book about her daughter’s story. She also said she believes laws need to be stricter to protect domestic violence victims and she wants victims in abusive relationships to feel empowered to speak up before it’s too late.
“Let’s talk about this,” LaPorte said. “Don’t be afraid to let somebody know you’re being abused.”
In Hillsborough County, the Spring of Tampa Bay has a 24-hour domestic violence crisis line, 813-247-7233 and their website is thespring.org. The organization can also be reached at 813-248-1050.