LAWRENCEVILLE — Eight months after Emani Moss’ charred, malnourished body was found in a trash can, her parents are standing against their charges in the death of the 10-year-old Lawrenceville girl.
Father Eman Giovanni Moss and stepmother Tiffany Nicole Moss were arraigned Friday morning in Gwinnett County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty in the capital murder case, said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Lisa Jones, who is prosecuting the case.
Jones said the hearing was uneventful, with the couple simply entering their pleas. They are facing six counts apiece, including murder, concealing the death of another, and two counts each of felony murder and first-degree cruelty to children.
The couple, who has two other children now in state custody, is accused of leaving the girl in a bathtub as she starved to death and attempting to dispose of her body. They felt they had to get rid of the body “to keep the family together,” an investigator said in court. Before her death, the 10-year-old got neither food nor water, documents said.
Gwinnett Country District Attorney Danny Porter filed documents earlier this year to seek the death penalty.
Friday’s hearing counted as another small step toward the trial, but there is still no sign of when that day will come.
“Motions will be filed in the upcoming months and hearing dates scheduled,” Jones said after the hearing Friday morning. “No dates were set today.”
Eman Moss and Tiffany Moss, who have both faced cruelty to children charges in the past, have been in the Gwinnett County jail without bond since early November. They were arrested after the husband called police, allegedly saying there was a dead body outside his apartment and that he was going to kill himself.
An officer arrived at the couple’s apartment complex on Veranda Chase Drive to find Eman Moss standing outside. The father, according to police, pointed to a trash can in the complex’s recreation area, where the officer found the girl’s badly burned body.
Information revealed in court hearings would later allege that the father had come home from work days earlier and found the girl “seized up” in the bath tub, unable to talk. Police say the parents didn’t get the girl help, because they were afraid of the consequences.
The girl is believed to have laid there for nearly a week before she died.
Then, Eman Moss went to Walmart and bought the trash can. Her parents allegedly drove around with the girl’s body in their car looking for a spot to stop and set her on fire, before they settled on an unidentified location on Satellite Boulevard, where Eman Moss started the fire, according to testimony.
Police believe the father expected the body to burn to ashes and took the body back home when that plan didn’t work.