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Trial date set for couple accused of years-long harm to children

David and Louise Turpin's trial will begin in September

 

Last updated 11/30/2018 at 1:51pm

Riverside County Sheriff's Department

David and Louise Turpin face charges that could result in more than 100 years in prison.

RIVERSIDE - A Sept. 3, 2019, trial date was tentatively set today for a Perris couple accused of imprisoning and torturing 12 of their 13 children.

David Allen Turpin, 56, and Louise Ann Turpin, 50, are each charged with 12 counts of torture and false imprisonment, as well as eight counts of child abuse and seven counts of cruelty to a dependent adult. David Turpin is additionally charged with eight counts of perjury and one count of lewd acts on a child, while Louise Turpin alone is charged with a single count of assault resulting in great bodily injury.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz scheduled trial proceedings for September after conferring with the prosecution and defense about a workable timeline going forward. It's uncertain whether the schedule will hold. Schwartz set an intervening status conference for Feb. 22 at the Riverside Hall of Justice to ascertain whether all parties are on track.

David and Louise Turpin are each being held in lieu of $12 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside. They're facing nearly 100 years behind bars if convicted.

The couple's 17-year-old daughter, Jordan, escaped the family's Muir Woods Road residence on Jan. 14 and told a 911 dispatcher that her two younger sisters were "chained up to their beds,'' shackled so tightly their bodies were bruised, according to testimony from the defendant's' June 20-21 preliminary hearing.

"They chain us up if we do things we're not supposed to,'' the girl said in a conversation with a 911 dispatcher, played in court. "Sometimes, my sisters wake up and start crying (because of the pain).''

Along with the 911 recording, the prosecution called sheriff's Deputy Manuel Campos to testify regarding his Jan. 14 interview with the victim.

Campos recalled Jordan's hair was filthy and her skin was caked with dirt. He said that the girl admitted "being scared to death'' about fleeing her home, but felt desperate to get out and leaped from an open window.

Campos testified the teenager had been planning an escape for two years and was ultimately able to procure a mobile phone discarded by her older brother. She used it to snap pictures of her younger sisters chained to beds.

The lawman said that the victim told him her sisters had been shackled because they were caught by Louise Turpin snatching candy from the kitchen -- forbidden under the house "rules.''

The girl's only exercise was pacing back and forth in the room she shared with her two younger sisters, according to the deputy.

He said the filth and stench in the bedroom was so overwhelming that the teen told him she often couldn't breathe and had to stick her head out the window for relief.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in January the victims were allowed to shower only once a year.

The siblings were virtually imprisoned, according to testimony, and the only time they were free to leave their assigned quarters was when both parents were out of the house.

D.A.'s office Investigator Wade Walsvick testified that all but one of the victims were severely malnourished.

Walsvick testified that when he spoke to the oldest son, 25-year-old Joshua Turpin, the victim revealed how he and his siblings were locked inside cages if their parents became angry with them. There were alleged beatings with paddles, "hitting on the face, slapping, pushing and being thrown across the room or to the ground,'' the witness said.

The children, whose ages range from 3 to 30, are in the care of county Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services staff. Most of them were hospitalized in January for treatment, but they have since been released and placed in undisclosed residential facilities, according to county officials. Only the now-3-year-old girl appeared to be in good health.

 

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