• Father of 10-year-old starved to death says wife didn't let him call 911

    By: By Bill Rankin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    The father of a 10-year-old girl who starved to death in 2013 took the stand Thursday in Gwinnett County to testify about her death.

    Eman Moss is testifying against his wife, Tiffany Moss, who is facing the death penalty for starving the Emani Moss to death. Tiffany Moss is representing herself in the death penalty case.

    Channel 2's Tony Thomas was in the courtroom Thursday as Eman Moss gave chilling testimony about the days leading up to his daughter's death and how the couple tried to dispose of the child's body.

    Thomas was in the courtroom as jurors reacted to the shocking testimony. Some covered their mouths as he spoke. Another put his head in his hands. 

    Tiffany Moss barely moved.  

    Eman Moss spoke about the weeks leading up to the starvation death of his daughter and his wife's reaction when they realized the little girl was dead. 

    "She was saying, 'We can't call 911. We've got to hide the body,'" Eman Moss said.

    Eman Moss said that over the next few days, the couple kept Emani's body in their Lawrenceville apartment, and their lives went on as normal. 

    "We talked about concealing her death, making it seem like she ran away," Eman Moss said. 


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    Witnesses said that in October 2013, Eman and Tiffany Moss placed the girl’s body in a trash can, drove to a secluded area and tried to burn her body.

    Eman Moss was asked Thursday why he initially agreed to try to hide his daughter’s body when they discovered her dead.

    "I'm not God, but I was trying to fix something irreversible," Eman Moss said. “I guess I was trying to fix the problem that I couldn't fix. I couldn't save her. I couldn't save my daughter."

    Eman Moss eventually called police.

    Eman Moss is already serving life in prison for his daughter's death. As part of his plea deal, he had to testify against his wife.   

    The jury was also shown objects by a crime scene technician that told the gruesome story. They were shown photos of the room where Emani starved to death, the roll of duct tape her father says he and his wife used to tie her body up and the lighter used to try and burn her body. They also saw photos of the burned clothes left behind. 

    After his testimony, Tiffany Moss once again declined to ask any questions, even of her husband. 

    On Wednesday, Tiffany Moss declined to offer an opening statement or to ask a single question of the 10 prosecution witnesses, some of whom described in detail how the girl died.

    Tiffany Moss' behavior in court has her attorneys concerned.

    On Thursday, they filed a motion to ask the judge to override Moss's desire to represent herself during the sentencing phase of the trial. They say she is marching herself straight to death row. 

    "We do not believe that she is participating," Brad Gardner, her standby counsel, said.

    Gardner said that if Tiffany Moss is convicted, she does not have the absolute right to represent herself.

    "The jury will have nothing upon which to base a life sentence, not because Mrs. Moss wanted the death penalty, but because she was incapable of representing herself," Gardner wrote in a motion.

    The judge has not ruled on the motion, but made it clear he thinks Moss is alert and paying attention. 

    "While I certainly understand that you disagree with certain decisions that she might be making and would prefer to litigate the case in a different way, these are none-the-less her choices to make," Judge Porter said. 

    A death penalty case usually takes weeks to try, but this is only day two of testimony and the prosecution is almost all the way through its list of witnesses. Tiffany Moss has given no indication if she will call anyone to the stand. 
     

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