'House of horrors' parents receive sentencing, children deliver moving impact statements

David Allen Turpin 57 and Louise Anna Turpin 49

David Allen Turpin 57 and Louise Anna Turpin 49. Source Riverside County Sheriff's Department

The sentencing was preceded by the first public statements from some of the children, who alternately spoke of love for their parents and of what they had suffered, as the couple wiped away tears.

Some of the other children said they still love their parents.

David Turpin's parents, James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, have said their son and daughter-in-law were a deeply religious couple who home-schooled their children and required them to memorize Bible scripture.

In statements to a court, David and Louise Turpin's children said they still love their parents.

The home in a middle-class section of Perris, a small city about 96 kilometres southeast of Los Angeles, appeared to be neatly kept, and neighbours rarely saw the kids outside, but nothing triggered suspicion.

In February, the couple pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts each of torture, dependent adult abuse, child endangerment, and false imprisonment.

The siblings were isolated from the outside world and were often denied showers, medical care and food, authorities said.

David and Louise Turpin, the parents whose 13 children were found shackled and malnourished in their suburban California home that became known as the "House of Horrors", were sentenced Friday to life in prison but with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

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Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Schwartz handed down life sentences for both David and Louise.

Newly released audio of their daughter's call to 911, obtained by ABC, provides a hint of the conditions in which the children lived. "Sometimes I still have nightmares about things like my siblings being chained up", he said, adding he's now free to attend college.

"The defendants ruined lives, so I think it's just and fair that the sentence be equivalent to first-degree murder", District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at the time of the plea. They abuse us and my two little sisters right now are chained up.

The children said they were beaten, caged and shackled to beds if they didn't obey their parents.

The teen relayed the deplorable conditions she and her siblings were being held in, noting it was hard to breathe amid the squalor.

"We live in filth". Jordan also said she didn't know the last time she had a bath - she guessed it was "almost a year ago" at the time of the call. In exchange, they agreed to the maximum possible punishment.

"I can't breathe because of how dirty the house is", the girl said.

"Our mother tells people we're home schooled ... she has a fake private school set up but we don't really do school".

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Another daughter recalled how the Perris couple, particularly her mother, became overwhelmed as the children grew older.

"We decided that the victims have endured enough torture and abuse", he said.

The girl used a deactivated cell phone she'd found inside the house to call 911.

The teenager revealed they never had breakfast, and only ate peanut butter, bologna sausage, and frozen burritos or chips for lunch or dinner. The eldest victim - a 29-year-old woman - weighed only 82 pounds.

The siblings told police they had been starved and put in cages, and moved around at night so neighbours were largely unaware of their appearance.

The children - whose names all begin with the letter J - were kept indoors, but were allowed out for Halloween, or on family trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas.

The Turpin offspring weren't allowed to play like normal children.

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