(PERRIS, Calif.) — David and Louise Turpin, the California parents accused of torturing and holding captive most of their 13 children, pleaded guilty Friday to 14 counts against them, prosecutors said.
David and Louise Turpin, who were arrested in January 2018, pleaded guilty to one count of torture and one count of dependent abuse as well as multiple counts of false imprisonment, child endangerment and adult abuse.
Each will serve an indeterminate sentence of 25 years to life, meaning they’ll be eligible to begin having parole hearings after the minimum time has elapsed, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a Friday news conference.
“Unless a parole board at some point… decides they should be released, they will serve the rest of their life in prison,” Hestrin said.
Had the case gone to trial, the victims likely would have been called to testify, Hestrin said.
The seven adult children are “relieved” they won’t face the possibility of testifying, Jack Osborn, a lawyer who represents the adult Turpin children, told ABC News on Friday. The victims didn’t want to lose their privacy or relive the “trauma” in such a public setting, he explained.
Hestrin called the Turpins’ case “among the worst, most aggravated child abuse cases that I have ever seen.”
The Turpins were accused of abusing 12 of their 13 children, including in some cases allegedly shackling them and beating them routinely, prosecutors said.
They were arrested after one child — a 17-year-old girl — escaped the home and called 911.
That Turpin daughter told the dispatcher that she and her siblings lived in filth and that she hadn’t bathed in nearly a year, according to testimony in court in June. She said she had last seen a doctor in 2013 and had never been to a dentist in her life.
When rescued, all the children except for the youngest, a toddler, were severely malnourished, prosecutors said.
The eldest victim — a 29-year-old woman — weighed only 82 pounds.
The adult children are healthy, Osborn said Friday, and have been finishing their educations and enjoying everyday life, from movies to hikes.
The children may choose to speak at their parents’ sentencing, Hestrin said. Sentencing has been set for April 19.
Both Louise Turpin’s attorney and the public defender’s office representing David Turpin declined to comment on Friday.
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