A woman who was convicted of killing of her stepdaughter by starvation has been sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Tiffany Moss, 36, showed no emotion on Tuesday morning as a jury in Gwinnett County, Georgia delivered the death sentence for the murder of 10-year-old Emani Moss in 2013.
On Monday, Moss was found guilty of all counts, including murder, cruelty to children and trying to conceal the death of Emani by burning her body in a trash can. The girl weighed just 32 pounds when she died.
Moss represented herself at trial and mounted no defense. She made no opening statement or closing argument and called no witnesses, saying she hoped that God would see her through the case.
Her husband Eman Moss – Emani’s biological father – is serving life in prison without parole for his role in the crime, after pleading guilty to felony murder in 2015 in exchange for testifying against his wife. Her death sentence was the first handed down in Georgia in more than five years.
At trial, prosecutors painted a damning picture of Moss, who they said kept her young stepdaughter confined to a bedroom in their Lawrenceville-area apartment, slowly starving her to death.
A medical examiner described how Emani wasted away without food or water and lived in waste in her own bed because she’d become too weak to move.
Authorities say she weighed just 32 pounds when she died.
Prosecutors highlighted text messages sent by Tiffany Moss to her husband Eman during the time when Emani was being starved.
At least twice, Moss sent her husband pictures of meals she had prepared for him and her own two children the couple shared.
Prosecutors said it likely took weeks for Emani to die of starvation.After the girl’s death, Tiffany and Eman Moss stuffed her emaciated body in a trash can and set it on fire.
Their two other children, whose ages have not been revealed, were with them when they tried to dispose of the body.
Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter urged the jury to choose the death penalty for Tiffany Moss, rather than life without parole.
‘She’s shown you too much of her capacity for cruelty. There will always be that dark side waiting to come out,’ he said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Porter slammed Moss as an ‘evil stepmother’ in his opening statement saying that the case was like ‘a Cinderella story gone horribly wrong’.
Asked by the judge if she wanted to say anything to the jury before sentencing, to explain her life or circumstances, Moss only replied ‘No’. Late Monday, hours into sentencing deliberations, jurors asked Gwinnett Superior Court Judge George Hutchinson if they could go home to ‘sleep on’ the sentencing decision after reaching an impasse.
The jury of six men and six women agreed to the death sentence after resuming deliberations at 9am on Tuesday.
Hutchinson polled the jurors individually to assure that their decision was unanimous.
Moss is now the only woman on Georgia’s death row, and would become the third to be executed in the state’s history when the sentence is carried out.