Turpin sentencing: Abusive parents who shackled children to bed for 17 years are jailed

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver
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Turpin sentencing: Abusive parents who shackled children to bed for 17 years are jailed

David and Louise Turpin, the parents of the 13 children who were found starved, abused, and shackled to beds in California, have been sentenced to 25 years to life today.

The couple, aged 57 and 50, were charged with 12 counts of torture, 7 counts of abuse of a dependent, 6 counts of child abuse, 12 counts of false imprisonment - and one count of a lewd act on a child against David.

The Turpin children were rescued after one of the siblings, aged 17, made a daring escape from the family home in Perris, California and called police using a deactivated mobile phone. She was so malnourished that authorities believed she was around 10-years-old.

Two of the couple's adult children, Jennifer and Joshua, read victim impact statements at the trial, publicly speaking on the case for the first time since being freed in January of 2018.

In an emotional testimony, Jennifer said, "My parents took my whole life from me but now I'm taking my life back."

Jennifer is now living independently and attending university.

Accompanied by an emotional support dog, Jennifer continued, "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."

Other Turpin children had submitted written statements asking for leniency for their parents and offering their forgiveness.

Although the couple had originally pleaded not guilty, they've accepted a plea deal that stipulated a sentence of 25 years to life in prison at Riverside County Superior Court.

The plea agreement assured that the parents pleaded guilty to one count per child, and spared the children from having to recount their abuse in court.

Louise Turpin apologised to her children, saying "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."

The children, whose ages ranged from two to 29, were forced to live in dangerous and dirty conditions.

12 of the 13 were malnourished, sexually abused, and physically abused. They were only permitted to shower once annually, and were often shackled to their beds as punishment for weeks, sometimes months, only occasionally being freed to use the bathroom.

The parents, while starving the children and feeding them one meal per day, would tempt the children with sweets and new toys that they would face punishment for touching.

The youngest Turpin child, aged two, did not seem to be mistreated.