Preliminary hearing for couple charged with torturing children set for May 14

Tune in to KESQ & CBS Local 2 for coverage

Turpin Parents back in court

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Update: David Allen Turpin and Louise Ann Turpin's preliminary hearing is set for May 14. Their felony settlement conference hearing will take place on March 23.



During today's appearance, the court addressed the amended felony complaint.The amended complaint includes 3 new charges of child abuse against both parents and one new charge of felony assault against Louise Ann Turpin. 



The defense received the complaint and submitted not guilty pleas.

Read the amended the Turpins face here:

Zak Dahlheimer was in court today covering the hearing. Tune in to KESQ at 5 p.m. for his full report. 



A preliminary hearing date is expected to be set Friday for a Perris couple accused of abusing, imprisoning and starving 12 of their 13 children for years.

David Allen Turpin, 56, and Louise Ann Turpin, 49, are both charged with 12 counts each of torture and false imprisonment, as well as six counts of child abuse and seven counts of cruelty to a dependent adult. David Turpin is additionally charged with one count of lewd acts on a child under 14 years old.

The Turpins are each being held in lieu of $12 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside and are facing 94 years to life in state prison if convicted.

During Friday's hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham will formally request that Superior Court Judge Emma Smith certify an amended felony complaint -- the contents of which weren't immediately available -- and schedule a date for a preliminary hearing within 
the next three months, provided there are no objections from the defense.

The preliminary hearing will determine if there's sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on all or some of the charges against the defendants.

Their children, whose ages range from 2 to 29, are in the care of county Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services staff. The county is seeking custodial rights over them. The Turpins have been barred from having any contact with them until the case is resolved.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin last month characterized the alleged mistreatment inflicted by the parents as "horrific,'' describing how the victims endured ``severe neglect that intensified over time.''

Watch: I-Team Exclusive: Interview with Perris prison home DA

According to Hestrin, the alleged prolonged harm to the victims and their captivity left them physically and cognitively damaged.

"Many of the children didn't know what a police officer was,'' he said. "They didn't know what medication was for.''

Hestrin acknowledged that while the abuse was extreme, there's no evidence the Turpins had an intent to kill. But the D.A. was tight-lipped as to a possible motive. He alluded to a pattern of behavior that pointed to the defendants' gratification from manipulation.

Louise Turpin's younger sister, Teresa Robinette, related in various media interviews that while she and other members of the family knew nothing of the alleged abuse, she believes it may have begun after the couple began drinking and "experimenting'' with a wild lifestyle, including regular trips 
to Las Vegas and plans for Louise Turpin to sleep with another man, Robinette 

The alleged abuse of the kids involved choking and beatings, according to Hestrin, who said the punishments worsened, particularly after the family moved to California. He noted that the children were initially bound with ropes, but when they figured out how to escape from such bondage, the 
couple switched to chains and padlocks, denying the victims bathroom access.

The siblings were allowed to shower once a year, and if they washed their hands above the wrist, "they were accused of playing in the water and they were chained up,'' Hestrin told reporters.

He said the victims were "relieved'' to be out of the house on Muir Woods Road and are now in "good hands.''

According to sheriff's investigators, the family moved to Murrieta in 2010, then to Perris in 2014. They had previously resided in Fort Worth, Texas.

More: Inside the Turpins' former Texas home

The Turpins' single-story home has remained ground zero of investigative and media activity since the Jan. 15 revelations about what allegedly happened there. The family was reportedly preparing to relocate to Oklahoma, which may have prompted the defendants' 17-year-old daughter to escape the home and seek help.

The girl escaped the home by jumping through a window shortly before 6 a.m. on Jan. 14, carrying a deactivated mobile phone with which she was able to dial 911, according to sheriff's Capt. Greg Fellows. She told dispatchers her 12 siblings were in need of help, and when deputies arrived, she presented them with photographs documenting conditions inside the residence, the captain said.

Fellows said three children were found chained to furniture in the residence.

The couple were not charged with torturing their 2-year-old, who appeared to have been properly fed.

The lewd acts charge against David Turpin stems from his alleged molestation of one of the girls.

State records show the residence was designated Sandcastle Day School, with David Turpin listed as the principal.

More: Perris couple arrest highlights lack of private school oversight

KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will have a reporter in the courtroom and will provide updates on air and online. 



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