A Georgia woman has been sentenced to death by lethal injection for starving her 10-year-old stepdaughter to death and then burning her emaciated body.
The jury took less than three hours on Monday, April 29 to convict Tiffany Moss, 36, to all six charges against her including murder, felony murder, cruelty to a child, and trying to conceal a death, in the killing of her stepdaughter Emani. A day later the six men and six women delivered their sentence—ending the highly disconcerting trial that lasted four days, reported AJC.
According to the news website, Moss, who represented herself in court and provided no defense, showed no emotion as the decision was read aloud.
Following the guilty verdict, Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter, who announced his intention to seek the death penalty early in the case, urged the jury to choose the death penalty.
“A parking ticket may cost you $10. A speeding ticket may cost you more. A burglary is probably going to cost you some years. But there are some crimes that are so horrible, so heinous, the only balance you can pay is with your life.”
He added that Moss did not deserve a sentence of life with parole because she was not going to change.
“She’s shown you too much of her capacity for cruelty. There will always be that dark side waiting to come out,” the district attorney said.
At the end of Monday, a superior court judge granted the jury’s request to go home “and sleep on” the decision, after they informed him they were at an impasse on the sentence, reported AJC.
During the trial, the jury was presented with the harrowing details of how Moss tortured the 10-year-old girl, confining her in a room without food until she wasted away.
Assistant District Attorney Lisa Jones told the court that Emanu’s abuse began three years before the young girl’s death in the fall of 2013.
When Emani was six, Moss had struck the girl with a belt for not doing her homework. After a teacher noticed Emani’s bruises, Moss was charged with child cruelty. She pleaded guilty and was placed on probation, while also losing her job.
JUST IN: A day after being convicted in the death of her 10-year-old stepdaughter, the jury recommends death by lethal injection for the Georgia woman.
Jones said from that point Moss started to despise Emani.
“Emani was nothing [to Moss]; she was a nuisance, she was ugly, she was nothing. She was a pain, she was disposable, she was trash,” Jones said during her closing arguments, reported Albany Herald.
Jones said when the Moss family lived with relatives, Emani was fine as she had someone keeping an eye on her, but when the family lived alone, Emani suffered.
After the family moved into their own three-bedroom apartment, Moss and Emani’s father, Eman Moss, decided to homeschool Emani.
“That was the beginning of the end for Emani … Home schooling was code words for isolate and hide. She will not have a teacher who can save her and protect her,” Jones said.
Jones described how Emani was kept in “her own personal prison,” where she was deprived food and drink, lived in filth, and wasted away in her own bed, because she was too weak to move. According to a medical examiner, she was only 32 pounds when she died.
“Emani lived with the evils in this world,” Jones said, reported AJC.
After Emani died, Moss and her husband placed the girl’s body in a trash can and set it on fire.
Jones said that although Emani “was disposable” to Moss, she was important to the other people around her.
“She was Emani and she mattered,” she said.