The couple behind the California torture house just appeared in court — here’s what they had to say Terry Pierson/The Press-Enterprise, Pool

David and Louise Turpin are facing a string of charges, including torture, after they kept their 13 children locked away in subhuman conditions. On Thursday, the Turpins made their first court appearance.

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David appeared in chains, wearing a lavender shirt and black jacket while his wife sat nearby, also in chains and a black jacket. The Turpins entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges, some of which date back to 2010. The district attorney says that the couple is facing 94 years to life in prison if convicted on all the counts.

During the arraignment, the Turpins were quiet and spoke only to say that they acknowledged their right to a speedy preliminary hearing, CBS reports. They will appear in court again on Feb. 23, and they’re almost certainly going to sit in jail until then since their bail is set at $13 million.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a press conference, “As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that will haunt you. Sometimes, in this business, we’re faced with looking at human depravity, and that’s what we’re looking at here.”

Terry Pierson/The Press-Enterprise, Pool

The parents were able to keep their children hidden away by listing their home as a private school. When the kids (who ranged in ages from 2 to 29) were released, it became clear that they had been hidden so that they didn’t understand the world. Some of them reportedly didn’t even know what a police officer was.

The children were only allowed to eat once a day and shower twice a year. However, the parents did allow them to keep journals and the kids reportedly filled hundreds of notebooks. Those have not been released and are still being reviewed by law enforcement.

The children are currently in the hospital where they’re getting desperately needed care. The Riverside University Health System has set up a fund for the children that will go to their long-term needs, according to a press release. Already, the hospital says that they’ve seen a tremendous outpouring of support.

Brian Rokos of the Press-Enterprise was present at the hearing and reported that David Turpin is being represented by a public defender while Louise Turpin has outside counsel. During Thursday’s arraignment, the public defender requested that media be banned from the trial, but the judge shot that down. Rokos noted that reporters from around the world were in the courtroom. The Turpins lawyers have not announced if they will try to have the case moved out of Riverside County.

Alex Thomas About the author:
Alex is from Delaware. He lives in DC.
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