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Parents of starved 10-year-old will face death penalty

Emani Moss

Emani Moss

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Tiffany Moss

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Eman Moss

LAWRENCEVILLE — The parents of Emani Moss — a 10-year-old forsaken by the system, abused and allegedly starved to death — will have their own lives in the hands of a jury.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter filed documents Friday announcing his intention to pursue the death penalty against Eman and Tiffany Moss, the father and stepmother accused of leaving young Emani in a bathtub to die before setting her body on fire. According to documents, the decision was based on the alleged murder being “outrageously and wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture and depravity of mind.”

In order to be eligible for the death penalty, a case must meet certain aggravating circumstances.

“Based on what happened to this little girl, we believe it does,” said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Lisa Jones, who is prosecuting the case alongside Porter.

The Mosses will be the first married couple to face the death penalty in Gwinnett County’s history. Jones said Friday she couldn’t recall many cases where any co-defendants did so.

The case will now be assigned to a new judge based on a rotation of death penalty cases, Jones said. It was originally in front of Judge Warren Davis because Tiffany Moss was on active probation from a previous case — cruelty to children involving Emani — in his court. The couple was denied bond last week.

According to police documents and testimony in prior court hearings, Eman Moss came home on Oct. 24 and found his daughter “seizing up” in the bathtub, his wife offering no explanation. The couple reportedly left the girl there, with no food or water, until she died about six days later. They then drove to several different locations to find a place to burn the body in a trash can.

Emani, who had been homeschooled and allegedly kept inside while her stepsiblings played outside, weighed 32 pounds when she died.

Since the 10-year-old’s death, it has been revealed that multiple reports involving her to the Department of Family and Child Services were either ignored or dismissed. A handful of DFCS workers have been terminated or reprimanded for their roles in the girl’s case, and Gov. Nathan Deal has vowed to devote more state funding to the program.

Attempts to reach Robin Moss, the mother of Eman Moss and advocate for statewide change following her granddaughter’s death, were unsuccessful Friday.