ABC News reports:
A Perris couple accused of torturing their 13 malnourished adult and juvenile children face up to 94 years to life in prison if convicted of a number of charges, authorities announced Thursday.
The Turpins appeared in court Thursday afternoon shackled and in dress clothes and entered pleas of not guilty at their arraignment. A court conference was scheduled for Feb. 23 in Riverside. They were ordered held on bail of $12 million each.
NBC News reports:
The 13 starving siblings held captive in a California house hardly ever saw the sun and were allowed, a prosecutor said Thursday, to eat only one rationed meal a day and shower just once a year.
They were allegedly beaten, choked and shackled to their beds with no access to a bathroom for months at a time for supposed offenses like “playing with water” when they washed their hands. Their parents would buy toys, the prosecutor said, but not let them play with them or even take them out of the packaging. They would make pumpkins pies and not let the hungry children eat them.
And one of the girls was the victim of a lewd act allegedly at the hands of her father, David Allen Turpin, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. “This is severe, emotional and physical abuse. There is no way around that,” Hestrin said. “This is depraved conduct.”
The children range in age from 2 to 29, with six of them minors and seven of them adults. All 13 of the children have first names that start with the letter “J,” according to the 10-page, 38-count criminal complaint.
The children were so poorly educated in their state-registered home school that many of them didn’t know what a police officer was nor what medication was, Hestrin said. “They lack a basic knowledge of life,” Hestrin said.
The family slept during the day, going to bed before dawn, and was awake through the night, Hestrin said. That helped the Turpins’ behavior escape detection by neighbors.
The New York Post reports:
The estranged brother of accused shackle dad David Turpin is taking a leave of absence from his job as president of a Christian college in Ohio.
Dr. Randy Turpin — brother of accused child-torturer David Turpin — is on sabbatical from Valor Christian College while he deals with “revelations about estranged family members,” a statement from the college provided to The Post reads.
“The Valor Christian College community joins with millions of Americans who are shocked and saddened by these terrible stories from California and we are praying for the full recovery of all involved,” it said. The college was founded by televangelist Rod Parsley, founder of World Harvest Church in Columbus.
The Washington Post reports:
Authorities said that David and Louise Turpin were “unable to immediately provide a logical reason” why the children were shackled and chained and that Louise Turpin seemed “perplexed” by the investigators’ questions.
The siblings’ grandparents told ABC News that during the children’s home schooling, they were made to memorize long scriptures of the Bible, with some memorizing the entire book. But Hestrin said the children appear to be lacking “basic knowledge of life.”