David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin the California parents who held their 12 children captive with scarce food and decrepit living conditions, were sentenced 25 years to life in prison, CBS News reports Friday.
The husband and wife pleaded guilty in February to 14 counts each of torture, dependent adult abuse, child endangerment and false imprisonment. The judge ruled that the couple will be eligible for parole.
"I'm sorry for everything I've done to hurt my children. I love my children so much. ... I only want the best for them," Louise Turpin said. Her husband struggled to give a short statement.
Both parents cried and wiped away tears as some of their children addressed the courtroom during their sentencing.
"My parents took my whole life from me, now I’m taking my life back," one of the couple's daughters said, according to NBC News. “Life may have been bad, but it made me strong. I saw my dad change my mom, they almost changed me. I’m a fighter, I’m strong.”
The world was horrified to learn of the details of the Turpin household after one of the daughters, who was 17 at the time, escaped their Perris, California home and used a cellphone taken from the home to call 911. The girl, who officers initially thought was a child because she was so malnourished, told police that her siblings were being held by her parents and that some of them were chained.
Authorities found the children, whose ages ranged between 2 and 29, being held in "dark and foul-smelling surroundings," authorities said. Some were bound to their beds and other furniture by chains and padlocks and many of the children told police that they were "starving."
"The smell was terrible,” Deputy Mike Vasquez of the Riverside Sheriff’s Office told the Daily Mail last year. “Feces and urine everywhere... It’s what happens when people are chained up — there’s nowhere else to go to the restroom."
Prosecutors said that the Turpin children were only allowed one rationed meal a day and allowed to shower once a year. Their parents would bake pies and forbid their hungry children from eating them, and would buy toys but not allow them to open or play with them.
Prosecutors also said that one of the daughters was allegedly the victim of a lewd act by her father.
The only child who appeared to have not been abused was the couple's youngest child.
Prosecutors say the abuse began when the family lived in Forth Worth, Texas, where one of the girl was bullied and called the "cootie kid." They moved to Murrieta, California in 2010, then to Perris in 2014.
“The abuse and severe neglect intensified over time and intensified as they moved to California,” Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin said last year. "It was what started out as neglect – became severe, pervasive, prolonged child abuse."
The children were not allowed to spend much time outside of the house, which became known in the media as the "House of Horrors." There were times when the family would take group outings to places like Las Vegas, where David and Louise renewed their vows, and Disneyland, where the kids wore matching outfits.0comments
Despite the horrific torture authorities said the children endured, some of the children told the court on Friday how much they loved their parents and said they did their best to raise them.
"I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up," one of the son's said. "Sometimes I still have nightmares from things that have happened. … But that Is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them."