Parents Who Starved, Shackled Kids Get Life Terms

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The eldest son and daughter of a California couple who starved and shackled 12 of their children spoke publicly for the first time Friday, alternately condemning and forgiving their parents before a judge sentenced them to up to life in prison, the Associated Press reports. Since being freed more than a year ago, the two adult children of David and Louise Turpin described how, despite receiving little education at home, they were now enrolled in college and learning simple things, including how to ride a bike, swim and prepare a meal. The hearing ended a shocking case that went unnoticed until a 17-year-old girl escaped in January 2018 and called 911. The children — ages 2 to 29 — had been chained to beds, forced to live in squalor, fed only once a day, allowed to shower only once a year and deprived of toys and games. They slept during the day and were active a few hours at night.

“I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to hurt my children,” said Louise Turpin, 50. “I love my children so much.” Her husband did not apologize for the abuse but wished his children well in with their educations and future careers. Jack Osborn, a lawyer for the seven adult Turpin children, said some plan to talk with their parents eventually, but others want no contact with them for 10 years. The sentence of life with no chance of parole for 25 years was agreed to when the couple pleaded guilty in February to torture, cruelty and false imprisonment. There was no explanation from the parents or lawyers about why the abuse occurred. The family lived in a middle-class section of Perris, a small city 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

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