Now the trial enters the phase where the jury will decide if she will be sentenced to death for killing Emani Moss. After years of abuse and neglect, the 10-year-old starved to death in her bed while her half-siblings thrived.
“She died on Oct 29 alone in that bed, in her own filth and her own waste while her own brother ran around outside playing. Her little sister in the pack n' play.”
That's what Gwinnett County Asst. District Attorney Lisa Jones said in closing arguments Monday morning.
“While this defendant sat watching TV and cooking lasagna, Emani died alone in a room while all that life was going on around her," Jones said.
It was a dramatic culmination of that portion of the death penalty trial of Tiffany Moss.
The child's father, Eman Moss, testified in the trial that they tried to cremate Emani's body. He took a plea deal in 2015 and is serving a life sentence without parole.
Tiffany Moss is acting as her own lawyer. She has refused to ask questions throughout the trial and also refused to present a closing argument, though her voice did shake when she uttered “No closing arguments, your honor.”
Even after she was found guilty on all counts, Moss refused to offer any evidence or call any witnesses ahead of her sentencing.
Moss faces 3 possible sentences:
- Death penalty
- Life without parole
- Life with parole
During her closing arguments, Jones took the jury through the evidence prosecutors set forth, going back to 2010 when Moss was convicted of abusing Emani.
“She got beaten. She got beaten with a belt,” said Jones. “This defendant said it was only two or three times. Admitted that to the detective… it was only two or three times. But it wasn’t two or three times. It was time and time again.”
Jones said Moss hated Emani because the conviction made her lose her career in early childhood education.
“What started after that was an utter and horrible downfall,” said Jones. “Because this defendant blamed that child.”
Jones painted a picture of a family in crisis: a father working two jobs, moving in with family members, and adding more children to their household.
Jurors listened intently, taking notes, while Jones told of how the family finally moved into their own apartment. It would be the last home Emani would live in.
This was also when Tiffany Moss and her husband, Eman Moss, decided to home school Emani.
“Eman’s sister knew immediately there were red flags,” Jones told the jury.
Jones said Emani’s grandmother, who fought for custody of Emani, called the Dept. of Family and Child Services because she was so concerned.
“Home schooling was code words for isolate and hide,” said Jones.
Once the family moved into their own apartment in Lawrenceville in the fall of 2013, Emani was isolated from family, school and friends.
“She never left that apartment,” Jones told the jury. “She never went outside. She never went anywhere with them as a family. Because she stayed in that (her) room. Homeschooling? No. There wasn’t home schooling going on.”
She detailed the text messages Tiffany Moss sent her husband, showing photos of meals she made for the rest of the family. Meals Emani never got to eat.
“Every day you get up and you make the choice that you will not feed that child,” said Jones. “That is malice murder. That is intent.”
Several jurors cried while Jones made her final statements.
“(Tiffany Moss felt) Emani was nothing,” said Jones. “She was a nuisance. She was ugly she was nothing. She was a pain. She was pain. She was disposable.”
Moss looked down as Jones directed her statements towards the defendant’s table.
“But she wasn’t. She was a child, and she was a granddaughter, and she was a niece, and she was a friend to kids who needed one, and she was a student who brought joy to a teacher. She was a daughter. She was Emani.”
Eman Moss is already serving life in prison without parole for his role in his daughter’s death. He testified against his wife during this trial.
If sentenced to death, Moss would be just the third woman executed in Georgia.