California House of Horrors Parents Could Get Out of Prison After 22 Years
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 25 years to life in prison.
Under the terms of their sentence, it’s possible for them to get parole after 22 years and four months, a spokesperson for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office tells PEOPLE.
In February, the Perris couple each pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts including cruelty to an adult dependent, child cruelty, torture and false imprisonment in Riverside Superior Court.
At the time, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said his office pursued a plea agreement in the case to ensure the victims didn’t have to testify about the abuse they suffered.
“We decided that the victims have endured enough torture and abuse,” he said.
The sentence came 15 months after the Turpins were arrested on Jan. 14, 2018 and a day after an audio tape was released to the public of the 911 call made by the Turpin’s then 17-year-old daughter who escaped their house and blew open the high-profile abuse case.
According to authorities, the teen climbed through a window and, using a disconnected cell phone, called 911 and told authorities she and her siblings were being abused by their parents. At the time of the phone call, the Turpin siblings ranged in age from 2 to 29.
Responding officers found a scene of malnutrition and squalor at the Turpin residence, with some of the children chained to the furniture. Prosecutors said the parents beat, strangled and starved the kids in an intensifying cycle of abuse dating back to at least 2010 when the family lived in Texas.
Among other disturbing behavior, the Turpin family slept all day and were “up all through the night,” going to bed about 4 or 5 a.m. The children were forbidden to shower more than once a year and none had ever seen a dentist. They hadn’t seen a doctor in years.
The children were fed very little and some suffered “severe caloric malnourishment,” prosecutors said.
However, the couple had purchased enough food for themselves and would leave some of it, including pies, out on the counter where their children could see — but could not eat it.
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The siblings “lacked a basic knowledge of life” when they were recovered from the Turpin residence, prosecutors said.
The Turpin’s then 29-year-old daughter weighed 82 lbs. when she was found.
In January, Jack Osborn, the attorney for the seven adult children, told NBC that the siblings were “not bitter. They really take every day as it is, as a gift.”
Osborn said the children “came from a situation that seemed normal to them. And now they’re in a new normal. And so I think they may spend a long time processing the two.”
He added, “For really the first time they’re able to make their own decisions, and decide what they’re going to eat. They decide where they’re going to go, what they’re going to study.”