David and Louise Turpin, the California couple arrested after they allegedly shackled and tormented 13 children, have entered a “not guilty” plea in relation to charges of abuse and torture as well as a “lewd act on a child.”
On Thursday, prosecutors laid out the charges for 57-year-old David and 49-year-old Louise Turpin in a Riverside court in California, according to a report from The Guardian. Michael Hestrin, a Riverside County district attorney, revealed details of the horrific situation the Turpin children went through.
“The abuse was horrific… it involved beatings, strangulation,” he said.
“As a prosecutor, there are some cases that haunt you. Some deal with human depravity, and that’s what we’re dealing with here.”
His statement and the charges against the Turpin parents came four days after authorities managed to rescue the 13 people from the so-called “House of Horror” located 70 miles south of Los Angeles.
According to the report, David and Louise Turpin denied the accusations and pleaded not guilty to several felony charges, including child abuse, abuse of dependent adults, torture, and false imprisonment as well as one count of a “lewd act against a child” for the Turpin dad.
Based on a similar report from BBC, the Turpin parents allegedly tied their children to beds using ropes and chains with padlocks to punish them and that they were not even released from their bindings to go to the bathroom as the prosecutors cited circumstantial evidence on the case.
On top of that, the victims rescued from the “house of horror” were allegedly used to acts of violence including beatings and strangulation, showered only once a year, stayed awake all night and were asleep during the day from 4 or 5 a.m., were not allowed to play with toys, provided with only one meal a day, and were basically deprived from proper health care and nurturing.
They also allegedly lacked basic knowledge in life and have no idea what police is despite home schooling allegedly provided by David and Louise Turpin.
After charges were heard on January 18, the Turpin couple’s lawyer reiterated that the suspects are to be considered innocent until proven guilty and declared that the matter will not be “tried through the media,” Radar Online reported.
MOMENTS AGO: Lawyers enter not guilty pleas on all counts on behalf of David and Louise Turpin, whose charges include 12 counts of torture, six counts of child abuse and 12 counts false imprisonment. https://t.co/pdN0bTrlz2 pic.twitter.com/9WZIjm55Pq— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 18, 2018
Meanwhile, the Turpin children, aged 2 to 29 years old, were taken to a medical facility and were found to have “suffered irreparable damage” both physically and mentally, BBC News added. However, only 12 counts of torture were filed against the suspects as the 2-year-old was found to be of normal weight.
“We are not charging torture on the 2-year-old. I don’t know why but apparently the two-year-old was getting enough to eat,” the DA said after the hearing.
Other charges include six counts of child abuse or neglect, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, and 12 counts of false imprisonment.
Radar said authorities have acquired journals written by the children during home schooling which the prosecution would use as “very significant, strong evidence of what went on in that house.”