LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - With the prosecutor calling the case “a real-life Cinderella story gone horribly wrong,” the capital murder trial of a woman accused of killing her young stepdaughter began Wednesday in Gwinnett County Superior Court.
Tiffany Moss faces a possible death sentence for the 2013 murder of 10-year-old Emani Moss if convicted.
Moss, who is representing herself at the trial, did not make an opening statement to jurors and did not ask any questions of witnesses during the morning court session.
In his opening statement, District Attorney Danny Porter called Tiffany Moss evil and told jurors she starved Emani while her own two children remained healthy and happy.
Investigators say Emani weighed just 32 pounds when officers found her burned body in a trash can near her family’s apartment in November 2013.
Porter told jurors that Tiffany and her husband, who is the girl’s father, burned the girl’s body after starving her.
Porter said, “They both took the trash can out of the truck. We will prove that to you by the fingerprints of this defendant on the trash can. They poured charcoal briquettes in the bottom of the trash bag, they doused her with lighter fluid and they set her on fire, and both of them stood there and watched her burn.”
The girl’s father, Eman Moss, pleaded guilty in 2015 for his part in the murder in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. He is expected to testify for the prosecution during his wife’s trial.
The girl’s grandmother told jurors about the condition the girl was in the last time she saw her.
Grandmother Robin Moss said: “She was so thin, so thin. She had this shirt on, and you could see the bones protruding out of her shoulder. And her arms were so skinny. I wasn’t used to that.”
Prosecutors had predicted the trial would last two weeks. But with the defendant not asking any questions, Porter told Judge George Hutchinson on Wednesday that he thinks the trial could be over by the end of the week.