Louise Turpin is located in a courtroom during a sentencing hearing Friday, April 19, 2019, in Riverside, California. Turpin and her husband, David, who pleaded guilty to years of torture and abuse of 12 of their 13 children have been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. (Lester/The Orange County Register via AP, Pool)
RIVERSIDE, California. – A Southern California couple who pleaded guilty to locking up and abusing 12 of their 13 children for years, as well as a number of the victims, their first public comments Friday during an emotion charged hearing where the parents were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Louise Turpin, was crying and said that she hoped to hug her children again one day. Her husband, David Turpin, was overcome by emotion when he tried to read his statement just after the oldest two of the couple’s 13 children, also in tears, described the impact of the abuse.
The children, ranging from 3 to 30 years, not in public recognized. Here are excerpts of their statements and the judge:
Jane Doe 4, age 30:
“My parents have my whole life from me, but now I’m my life back. I’m in college now and living independently.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason. Life is bad, but it made me strong. I fought to be the person that I am. I saw my father and my mother. They almost changed me, but I realized what happened. I immediately did what I could to not be like them.
“I am a fighter, I’m strong and I’m shooting through life like a rocket.”
John Doe 2, 27 years:
“Sometimes I still have nightmares of the things that have happened, such as my brothers and sisters to the chain or beaten. But that is the past and this is now. I love my parents, and have forgiven them for many of the things that they did to us.
“Since January, I have learned so much and very independent. In June last year I learned how to ride a bike, and since then I’m addicted and drive anywhere, like to school, to the store, or sometimes I just go on long rides, because I enjoy it so much.
“I’m getting a bachelor’s degree in software engineering and after I got my bachelor’s degree. I am planning to get a job as a software engineer and go to school part-time for my master’s degree. I’ve also learned how to advocate for myself, how to swim, how to eat healthy and cook a balanced meal. I’ve also learned how to manage money wisely.”
John Doe 2, the reading of a statement from another sister:
“I love both of my parents so much. Although it may not be the best way of raising us, I am glad that they did because it shaped me into the person I am now. I would like to thank them for teaching me about God and faith. I hope they never lose their faith. God looks at the heart and I know that he sees them. I pray a lot for them.”
Lawyer Janet Latourette, reading a statement on behalf of another daughter:
“I want the court to know that our parents loved each other and loved each of their children. People … said our parents had too many children. Our parents do not agree. She had the feeling that God blessed them with all their children, so that they are kept away from the world and trusted God would guide them through life.
“Through the years things became more and more overwhelming, but they did trust in God. I remember our mother sitting in her chair and crying she says that she does not know what to do. They did not want to use rope or chain, but she was afraid that her children were taking too much sugar and caffeine. The reason that our parents do not stop with the purchase of the soft drink was because father needed for work. He would fall asleep driving and got in an accident. She didn’t know what else to do.
“I believe that our parents were afraid that if they asked for help, they would lose their children.
“I feel like 25 years is too long. I believe with all my heart, our parents tried their best to raise all 13 of us and they wanted to give us a good life. They believed everything they did was to protect us.
“If that is at all possible, I would appreciate if the court would place our parents as close as possible to the detention center they are now, so if we ever want to visit, we can.”
David Turpin’s lawyer, Allison Lowe, read from his statement:
“I thank God for all my children. Each of them is a blessing from God. My homeschooling and discipline, had good intentions. I never intended to cause harm to come to my children. I’m sorry if I have done anything to cause them harm.
“I love my children and I believe that my children love me. I hope and pray that my children can be close together and look out for each other since their mother and father, not for them and with them.”
David Turpin then took to read, saying, ” he wants his children to be successful in school.
“I am so proud of each of my children. I miss all my children and I will be praying for them. I look forward to the chance to contact them again.”
“I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to make the pain for my children. I love my kids so much. I am blessed that the mother of each of them. I really want the best for them. Their happiness is very important to me.
“They are very smart, wonderful people. I hope they have all the knowledge they need to make their dreams come true. She deserves only the best in life. I don’t want them to feel sad or depressed because of all this.
“I want them to know that Mommy and Daddy are going to be OK. … I really look forward to the day I can see them, hug them and tell them that I’m sorry.”
Judge Bernard Schwartz:
The lives of the children “is a permanent change in their ability to learn, to grow and to flourish. You have delayed their mental, physical and emotional health. To the extent that they do thrive … it will not be because of you, but in spite of both of you.
“The only reason your punishment is less than the maximum time, in my opinion, is because you accepted responsibility at an early stage in the procedure to spare your children from having to relive the humiliation and the damage that they endured in that house of horrors.”