David and Louise Turpin sentenced: The parents of a Perry, California house of horrors are sentenced for 14 felony counts of abusing and imprisoning 12 of their 13 children in their home.
A California courtroom on Friday witnessed the denouement and catharsis of a family unit which over the last dozen years had lived a secret life behind the veneer of everyday America.
Leading into their sentencing, David Allen Turpin, 57, a former computer engineer and his ‘home- maker’ wife Louise Anna Turpin, 50, listened as the eldest of their 13 children gave devastating impact statements of the many horrors they had been subjected over the years since being freed in January 2018– from being chained up to their beds, forced to live in feces and urine soaked rooms and sequestered from the outside world which had no idea of the Gothic horrors they endured.
‘My parents took my whole life from me but now I’m taking my life back,’ eldest daughter, Jennifer, 30 said shakily as she was comforted by a Labrador support dog called Raider. ‘I saw my dad change my mom. They almost changed me, but I realized what was happening.
‘I believe everything happens for a reason. Life may have been bad, but it made me strong. I fought to become the person I am. I’m a fighter, I’m strong and I’m shooting through life like a rocket.’
Joshua, 27, revealed still having nightmares about him and his siblings being chained up or beaten.
David and Louise Turpin sentenced: ‘I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things that they did to us’.
Following the eldest siblings impact statements’, David and Louise Turpin shook and audibly wept as Judge Keith Schwartz sentenced them both to to life in prison with possibility of parole in 25 years after previously pleading guilty to neglect and abuse of 12 of their 13 children.
Yet perhaps equally troubling and redemptive was what the eldest son also told the courtroom.
‘That is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things that they did to us,’ he said. ‘I have learned so much and become very independent.’
The son, who is studying to be a software engineer at college, revealed he had learned to ride a bike, swim and cook healthy meals.
The couple’s son also read a statement from his sister Jessica, saying: ‘Although it may not have been the best way of raising us I’m glad that they did because it made me the person I am today.
‘I just want to thank them for teaching me about God and faith… God looks at the heart and I know he sees theirs,’ she said, adding that she was now at college full-time and living in an apartment’.
— islandives (@islandives) April 19, 2019
David and Louise Turpin sentenced: ‘They didn’t know what else to do. I believe our parents feared if they asked for help they would lose their children’.
And perhaps if the outside world is to understand how the overtly ‘religious’ family endured over the years, a statement by one of the younger sisters, Joy also offered insight.
Noted Joy’s statement, ‘I want the court to know that our parents love each other and love each of their children,’
The girl wrote that her mother ‘didn’t want to use rope or chain’ but was ‘afraid’ her children were ‘taking in too much sugar and caffeine’.
‘The reason our parents didn’t stop buying the soda was because father needed it for work. He would fall asleep driving and got in an accident. They didn’t know what else to do. I believe our parents feared if they asked for help they would lose their children,’ she said.
‘Our parents didn’t know we were malnourished. They thought we all got the gene from our mother because she was so small. I remember mother saying ‘God has blessed us with healthy children.’
The girl asked the judge to place the parents in a detention center nearby so that she would be able to visit them and asked for a restraining order to be lifted so she could speak to them via phone.
“My parents took my whole life from me, but now I’m taking my life back.”
Several of Louise & David Turpin’s children issued emotional statements in court on Friday, before their parents were sentenced to 25 years to life for torturing and abusing them.
John Blackstone reports pic.twitter.com/suAPJu2J6k
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) April 19, 2019
David and Louise Turpin sentenced: ‘We never meant any harm to come to our children’.
David and Louise also addressed the court and apologized for harming their children.
‘I thank god for all of my children. Each one of them is a blessing from God,’ David said. ‘My homeschooling discipline had good intentions. I never meant any harm to come to my children.
‘I hope and pray that my children can look out for each other since their mother and father cannot be there with them. I miss all my children and will be praying for them… I long for the opportunity to have contact with them again.’
Louise Turpiin added: ‘I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to my children. I love my children so much, I’m blessed to be the mother of each one of them. Their happiness is very important to me.
‘I want them to know mom and dad are going to be okay. I believe God has a special plan for each of them… I love them more than they could ever imagine.’
Sentencing had begun. Slight change in charges to which Turpins are pleading guilty. Sentence and plea deal will remain the same. David Turpin in court, seems to have aged markedly in the year since his arraignment more than a year ago. pic.twitter.com/SGvd5wJMXB
— Matt Gutman (@mattgutmanABC) April 19, 2019
David and Louise Turpin sentenced: How a tragedy could have been averted.
In rendering his sentencing, Judge Keith Schwartz reflected, ‘thee only reason that your punishment is less than the maximum time, in my opinion, is you accepted responsibility at an early stage in the proceedings, and spared your children the humiliation and the harm [of a trial].
‘Any punishment that is given to you today will pale in comparison with the fact that you will not have an opportunity to spend your years as a normal parent would.’
Added the judge, ‘Children are indeed a gift. They’re a gift to their parents, to their family, to their friends, and they’re a gift to society,’
‘They’re a gift to their parents in the sense that a parent should be joyful of firsts in their child’s life. The first day of school, first job, marriage. All of those things should be enjoyed by the parent and child alike.
‘But they’re also a gift to society, because you don’t know what a child is going to do when they’ve finished their schooling and seek their occupation. Maybe they’ll become a scientist and discover a cure for some disease. Maybe they’ll become a doctor or first responder and save someone’s life’.
‘Maybe they’ll enter the military and protect our country. Or maybe they’ll just otherwise become a good citizen who makes the world a better place.
‘The selfish, cruel and inhumane treatment of your children has deprived them, your family, friends, society and especially both of you of those gifts. Their lives have been permanently altered in their ability to learn and thrive,’
‘It delayed their mental, physical and emotional development. To the extent that they do thrive, and we’ve learnt today that a couple of them are, it will be not because of you both but in spite of you both.
‘You have severed the ability to interact and raise your children, that you created and arrived to this world.’
The couple pleaded guilty in February to 14 felony counts of abusing and imprisoning 12 of their 13 children in their home in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. They were never convicted of harming their two-year-old child.
Their sentencing marks the culmination of a horrific case that has played out publicly for almost 16 months after being shrouded in secrecy for decades.
The years of abuse only came to light in January 2018 when David and Louise’s 17-year-old daughter Jordan jumped from a window of their filthy home and called 911 on a barely workable cellphone.
The brave teenager’s phone call resulted in the 13 Turpin children being freed and landed their parents behind bars.
Following their arrests in January last year, horrific details began to emerge of the extent of torture, abuse and neglect that the children – aged between two and 29 at the time – had endured.
The 13 siblings have remained out of the public eye as their parents’ case unfolded in court and they learned to adapt to normal life outside the confines of the house of horrors.
And as the family sought to come to terms with the outside world they had paradoxically being taught to fear and resist, the outside world was made to wonder how such horrors and abuses managed to continue unnoticed (or should have been noticed) and how despite the perverseness and grief- the family still forgave each other and loved each other and how in some way they had willingly accepted the notion that their dire lot was somehow safer, pious and sanctimonious than the outside everyday America-David and Louise Turpin resisted their children ever coming to know- until they finally one day did.