Judge rules Emani Moss siblings to remain in state custody

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - A Gwinnett County Juvenile Court judge has ruled the siblings of a girl starved to death will stay in state custody, at least for now.

The ruling was released publicly one day before what would have been Emani Moss's 11th birthday on Wednesday.

Judge Robert Waller found neither of the children's grandmothers was fit to care for the toddlers.

The judge blasted one of the women, writing she should have realized what was happening to her own granddaughter.

The decision was released after Channel 2’s Tony Thomas worked for weeks to secure the document.

Juvenile court decisions normally remain sealed to outside parties. But after a WSB-TV's attorney filed a motion to the court, the judge released the decision to Thomas on Tuesday.

The case centers on the death of Emani Moss last year and the future of her two toddler-age siblings.

Police said her parents, Eman and Tiffani Moss, starved her to death and then tried to burn her body in a garbage can to hide the crime.

An autopsy found Emani weighed less than 40 pounds when she died. There are no allegations the other children were ever physically harmed.

During the final few months of Emani's life, her family lived at times with maternal grandmother Pearlie Bashir.

The judge noted that in Bashir's testimony, she said she never noticed anything wrong with Emani, and he called her testimony "halting, vague and unbelievable at times."

He went on to write about Bashir, "It is unfathomable to the Court that Ms. B could not have known that Emani M. was being abused and mistreated at some point between 2010 and October 2013. At, Best Ms. B turned a blind eye to the suffering and, ultimately , to the death of a child who had been living in her home off and on for over three (3) years. ... She cannot be depended upon to protect children living in her home."

Bashir refused to discuss the case as she left the Juvenile Courthouse on Tuesday.

Emani's paternal grandmother, Robin Moss, was also denied custody because the judge found she couldn't support the children. Moss also believes Bashir looked the other way.

"She know what she did (was) wrong and you can't sugarcoat it," Moss said.

Tiffani and Eman Moss both face a possible death penalty if convicted of the murder and starvation of their child.

Their defense lawyers say they were surprised by the strong wording but discounted suggestions prosecutors may now charge Bashir with any crimes.

"I disagree with some of his conclusions. I don't think it will have too much an impact. I think the criminal case will speak for itself," said Eman Moss''s attorney Rob Greenwald.

Tiffani Moss''s attorney went so far as to say he believed Bashir should have been allowed to care for the two children.

"I don’t' think there is anything in this ruling that makes Pearlie Bashir criminally liable for anything," said Wesley Person.

Both parents are fighting the termination of their parental rights. If the judge does terminate their rights, the children could be put up for adoption. Pearlie Bashir is trying to appeal the judge’s ruling.



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