Turpin parents plead guilty to multiple charges, including torture


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.

A California couple who shackled some of their 13 children to beds and starved them have pleaded guilty to torture and other abuse.

As US prosecutors brought charges of cruelty and torture against a California couple who had shackled and starved their children for years, they had two goals in mind: Punish the perpetrators and ensure they could never victimise those 13 children in any way again. The Turpins have pleaded not guilty to dozens of felony counts - including torture, willful child cruelty and false imprisonment. "I wanted to call y'all so y'all can help my sisters".

The man said he had been tied up with ropes at first and then, after learning how to wriggle free, was restrained with increasingly larger chains on and off over six years. Some of the children had stunted growth and wasted muscles and described being beaten, starved and put in cages.

The victims were forbidden to shower a couple of times a year and none of them had ever seen a dentist. Some of the kids, who ranged in age from 2 to 29, were malnourished and, in some cases, chained to furniture.

Hestrin said he had hoped to spare the children any further trauma that might come with a trial. The 17-year-old girl had trouble pronouncing words and spoke like a younger child.

The elder Turpins, who had initially pleaded not guilty in the case, face between 25 years to life in prison at their sentencing in April.

Two girls, 11 and 14, had been hastily released from their chains when police showed up, but a 22-year-old son remained shackled. The brother told police he and his siblings had been suspected of stealing food and being disrespectful.

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Authorities said the children were deprived of food and things other youngsters take for granted, such as toys and games, and were allowed to do little except write in journals.

The Turpin parents kept their children in deplorable conditions in their home in Perris.

In the weeks after their rescue, the children were said to be recovering with the assistance of medical professionals.

The 11-year-old girl, whose arms were the size of an infant's arms, suffered severe malnutrition and muscle wasting. The adult children are under conservatorship by the county.

The social services agency tasked with overseeing the younger children declined to comment on their cases.

He says they can now move forward with their lives without the stress a trial would have involved.

Hestrin said after meeting with them, he was struck by the optimism they display about their futures: "They have a zest for life and huge smiles".

He said while their living conditions were utterly shocking, to them it was normal, so adjusting to their new life has been somewhat of a hard transition.