’Tortured’ daughter defends parents
A daughter of the Turpin couple - who tortured their children in the 'house of horrors' - has come to the defence of her sadistic parents in an extraordinary victim impact statement.
David and Louise Turpin were today sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for torture, abuse and neglect so severe it stunted their children's growth, led to muscle wasting and left two girls unable to bear children.
But in the emotionally wrenching hearing, several of their 13 children remarkably professed continued love for their parents, in statements which preceded sentencing in Riverside County Superior Court, about 112kms southeast of Los Angeles.
One of the daughters, who is now 21 years old, even asked the judge to give her parents a lighter sentence because "they believed everything they did was to protect us."
She also expressed a desire to talk to them again.
"I love both my parents so much," she wrote in a statement read out by her brother.
"Although it may not have been the best way of raising us, I'm glad they did, because it made me the person I am today.
"I want the court to know that our parents loved each other and loved each of their children," "I remember our mother sitting in her recliner and crying, saying she don't know what to do. "She didn't want to use rope or chain, but she was afraid her children were taking in too much sugar and caffeine."
The statement went on to say that the parents continued buying soda because "father needed it for work".
"I pray often for them," the daughter wrote.
David and Louise Turpin watched and listened as their two eldest of 13 children appeared in court and relayed stories about being chained to furniture, caged, tortured and beaten for years.
The couple's eldest daughter walked into the room in tears, holding hands with a prosecutor.
"Life may have been bad, but it made me strong," she said.
"I fought to become the person that I am. I saw my dad change my mum. They almost changed me, but I realised what was happening.
"I'm a fighter. I'm strong and I'm shooting through life like a rocket."
The Turpins wiped away tears before their eldest son then addressed the court about his ordeal. The 26-year-old man, identified as "John Doe 2", said he couldn't "describe in words what we went through growing up".
"Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that happened such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten," he said as his voice cracked.
"But that is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them."
According to Louise Turpin's lawyer, Jeff Moore, 10 of the children have 10-year restraining orders in place. Two have five-year restraining orders and one had the restraining order dropped.
Judge Schwartz told the court that the orders prevented David and Louise Turpin from having contact with the children - whether in person, by mail, phone, social media or through third parties.
Outside the court, the adult children's lawyer Jack Osborn told news.com.au that each child was grappling with how much they were willing to forgive their parents for years of sustained torture and abuse.
Mr Osborn said some of the siblings wanted contact while others never wanted to see or hear from their parents again. He said the siblings wanted to be normal adults "without being thought of first as the Turpin children" and that they were humbled by an outpouring of support from strangers from around the world.
'SELFISH, CRUEL AND INHUMANE'
David and Louise Turpin were on Friday sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
The judge told the Turpins their children's lives had been permanently altered, by their "selfish, cruel and inhumane" actions.
David Turpin professed his love for the youngsters before he was sentenced. His wife read her own statement in which she apologised to her children.
"I only want the best for them," she said. Their happiness is very important to me."
The Turpins moved from Texas to California in 2010. Investigators have said it's unclear what prompted the abuse.
According to neighbours, they rarely saw the kids outside the home.
The conditions inside David and Louise Turpin's home in suburban Los Angeles came to light only after one of their daughters escaped from the home in a middle-class section of the city of Perris, about 112kms southeast of Los Angeles, and pleaded for help to a 911 operator. Before then, the Turpins had lived largely out of view.
When police arrived, they were shocked by what they discovered.
A 22-year-old son was chained to a bed and two girls had just been set free from their shackles. The house was filthy and the stench of human waste was overwhelming.
An officer who interviewed the teen after her escape said she was so emaciated that he first thought she was a child.
He said the girl described being forced to sleep 20 hours a day and in the middle of the night eating a combination of lunch and dinner that most often consisted of peanut butter sandwiches, chips and microwaved food.
One of the older children also told investigators that the couple would lock him and his siblings in cages as punishment and beat them with paddles.
Twelve of the 13 children, who ranged from age two to 29 when found, were beaten, shackled to their beds, malnourished, denied access to the bathroom and permitted to shower only once a year. Charges against the couple relating to abuse and neglect of their youngest child were dropped due to a lack of evidence.
The court previously heard that the children were often tied up for "weeks or even months at a time".
Authorities also said the siblings had been isolated from the outside world and were often denied medical care and food.
While the children were mostly kept indoors, they were allowed out for Halloween, and on rare family trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas.