GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —
The father of a girl burned and starved to death will spend the rest of his life in prison.
A judge sentenced Eman Moss to life without parole Friday in the death of his 10-year-old daughter Emani Moss.
Moss pleaded guilty to two counts of felony murder, two counts of cruelty to a child and one count of concealing a death in June.
Emani Moss was found dead in a trash canister outside her Gwinnett County apartment in November 2013. She was burned and emaciated, police said.
Tiffany and Eman Moss supposedly home schooled the child and did not feed her regularly, police said. She weighed only 32 pounds, and was the size of a 3-year-old when she died.
Eman stood for five minutes before a judge, crying and reading a letter he wrote to his deceased daughter Emani.
A daughter he says he tried to feed as she was dying of starvation.
“So again, I apologize deeply for failing you. I’m sorry Emani,” Eman said.
In court Friday, Eman read a poem in court apologizing for his actions:
Dear Emani Moss, my angel face:
My beautiful princess, my first born. My baby girl, my diamond in the sky. Daddy is so, so sorry for my actions. Daddy’s actions caused me to lose a rare gem stone that was you.
I wanted you to know that Daddy made a terrible mistake and he is very sorry from the bottom of my heart.
The thing that brings me so much pain in my heart is I can’t bring you back. I cannot kiss you, I cannot hold you, I cannot tell you I miss you, I cannot tell you I love you. And the worse of all I can’t see you become a beutiful woman because of my bad mistake and my bad decision.
So again, I apologize deeply for failing you. I’m sorry, Emani. Know I have owned my mistakes. Know I have owned my faults that lead me here. I have accepted my part without blaming anyone but myself. I have accepted the grief, the pain, the suffering that I have caused the whole family.
I am so sorry, mom. I am so sorry, dad. I am so sorry, Aunt B. I am so sorry, Aunt JC. I am so sorry, Uncle Ken. I am so sorry, Ryan I am so sorry, Brendan. I am so sorry, Aunt Beverly. I am so sorry for everybody that I have not named. I am so sorry, State of Georgia. I am so sorry, Gwinnett County. and I am so sorry your Honor. And I hope everyone can find in their heart to forgive me.
Friends and family, I want to tell you that even though I have failed as a parent, as a father and as a daddy, I want each and every one of you to know that I am not my past. And that I will not let what I have done to define me. I will chose to never lose hope. I will chose to let the light of God to shine in through and around me. I will chose love as how and what I think about. So love can be the reflection of my behavior.
I realize that until a person changes their thoughts, they can’t change their behavior. So I choose to think differently so I can reflect a better behavior. So I can choose to be a better me. So I can choose to be a better father, son, brother, friend, nephew, cousin, grandson. So my life will have meaning and purpose with love. So like the lyrics of Stevie Wonder’s song, I will keep trying until I reach a higher ground.
So family and friends, and most of all, Emani baby girl, you will always be the love of my life forever. I’m sorry again.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Eman has agreed to testify against his wife Tiffany in her upcoming death penalty trial, describing the weeks of starving Emani, and some of her last words as he claims he tried to keep her alive.
“We believe she might have been saying to Mr. Moss when he was there trying to feed her ‘daddy daddy daddy,’” said lawyer Christian Lamar.
But after she died, Eman admits he tried to burn her body in a trash can, fearing he would lose the rest of his family if police discovered what happened. Moss admitted his guilt after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.
“It’s good to see he recognizes that, but it’s obviously entirely too late for Emani,” Gwinnett Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jones said.
Police said Eman called police and threatened to commit suicide. When officers arrived, he directed them to a trash can where they found the child’s body.
The Department of Children and Families received six complaints regarding Emani spanning from infancy until two months before her death.
His wife, Emani’s stepmother, Tiffany, still faces the death penalty.
Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine deferred Friday on a question about the team’s interest in Ray Rice and the fact that Dee Haslam, one of the team’s owners, is on the NFL’s Conduct Committee.
“I deal with those decisions from a football standpoint, so that question’s not for me,” Pettine said in a conference call the day after the team’s 20-17 preseason loss to the Redskins.
The Browns have acknowledged discussing Rice’s availability, but Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer called any talk of signing him premature.
Rice has not played in the NFL since 2013. He missed the entire 2014 season after the Baltimore Ravens released him last September when videos surfaced showing Rice punching his then-fiancee and current wife, Janay Palmer, in an elevator at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino.
Dee Haslam, the wife of Jimmy Haslam, was named to the Conduct Committee on Dec. 5, 2014, when the league sent out a press release headlined: “The NFL’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault.” She is one of two women on the committee.
The committee was formed to help the league determine how to best address and improve the personal conduct policy. In the NFL’s release when it was formed, the league said the committee would “review the policy at least annually and recommend appropriate changes with advice from outside experts … (and) ensure that the policy remains current and consistent with best practices and evolving legal and social standards.”
The Browns have said that Rice’s name has been mentioned with many others — including Pierre Thomas — as the team looks for ways to improve its roster. Jimmy Haslam told ESPN’s Bob Holtzman on Thursday night that he would like to see Rice get a second chance, and the owner is OK if the Browns give him that chance — provided the football people want to sign him.
Pettine reiterated Friday that the team believes in its young backs.
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