Turpin children speak of love and nightmares in court statements
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – What did the Turpin children have to say about their parents in court Friday? Four statements were read in court while five more were delivered to their parents to read in private.
During the testimony, David and Louise Turpin, who pleaded guilty to torture, false imprisonment and endangering 12 of their 13 children, often cried and looked at their children while they spoke. After the statements, they were both sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Here are transcripts of the children's statements:
'25 years is too long'
Statement from daughter, Joy Turpin, 21, as read by attorney Janet LaTourette:
I want the court to know that our parents loved each other and loved each of their children. People in Texas, even friends, said our parents were having too many children. Our parents didn’t agree. They felt that God blessed them with all their children so they kept away from the world and trusted God would guide them through life. Our mother wrote two small notes to our father.
The first note reads, “Always let God be in control of your life. We have a perfect life because God has always taken such good care of us. I am so thankful to God for this. I would love for us to pray together on a regular basis. Spend our time with God will make our life more awesome.” The second note reads, “Children are the most awesome gift ever. I’ve always known our precious and wonderful children are; when they are your own it’s even awesome. The best gifts ever.”
Through the years, things became more and more overwhelming, but they kept trusting in God. I remember our mother sitting in her recliner and crying, saying she don’t know what to do. She didn’t want to use rope or chains, but she was afraid her children were taking in too much sugar and caffeine. The reason our parents didn’t stop buying the soda was because father needed it for work. He would fall asleep driving and got in an accident. They didn’t know what else to do. I believe our parents feared if they asked for help they would lose their children. Our parents didn’t know we were malnourished. They thought we all got the gene from our mother because she was so small. I remember mother saying, “God has blessed us with healthy children.”
Our parents would get us pizza and Mexican food every other week and sometimes more than once a week. Our mother would always tell us to let her know if we are still hungry and she will give us more. Their first child went to a public school. They started noticing she wasn’t really learning much so mother started teaching her at home and saw a big difference. Our parents decided to start homeschooling all their children. It worked out good at first but through the years it became very overwhelming. I believe our parents were afraid to put us in public school for many reasons. They felt that God put it on their hearts to home school. When we came to California, people treated us so much better and people started telling us our family was a blessing. Our parents finally felt safe to start taking us out as a family.
They got us annual passes to Disneyland and took us to see the Grand Canyon, Flintstone Park, Vegas, etc. Every year from as far back as I can remember, our parents tried to give us the nicest Christmas they could. They would get us what we wanted even if they couldn’t afford it. They always tried to keep up with our birthdays every year too. Closer to the end, things became more overwhelming again. I truly believe most of this was because our mother lost both of her parents in 2016.
I feel like 25 years is too long (of a sentence). I believe with all my heart that our parents tried their best to raise all 13 of us and they wanted to give us a good life. They believed everything they did was to protect us. If at all possible, I would really appreciate if the court would place our parents as close to the detention center they are in right now. So if we ever want to visit them, we can. Also, I want the two-year restraining order lifted and I want to be allowed to talk to both my parents by phone.
Thank you for hearing my statement.
'I still have nightmares'
Statement from son Joshua, 27:
I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up. Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that have happened, such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten. But that is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things they did to us.
Since January, I have learned so much and become very independent. In June of last year, I learned how to ride a bike and ever since then, I’ve been hooked and ride it everywhere. Such as to school, the store, or sometimes just long rides because I enjoy it so much.
I live in an apartment and go to a nearby college. I am getting a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, and after I get my bachelor’s degree I am going to get a job as a software engineer and go to part time to get my master’s degree. I also have learned how to advocate for myself, how to swim, how to eat healthy and prepare a balanced meal. I have also been learning how to manage money wisely.
Thank you, your honor.
'I love both of my parents so much'
Statement by Jessica, 25 (read by her brother Joshua).
I love both of my parents so much. Although it may not have been the best way of raising us, I am glad that they did, because it made me the person I am today. I just want to thank them for teaching me about God and faith. I hope that they never lose their faith. God looks at the heart, and I know he sees theirs. I pray often for them.
I am doing well. I am going to college full time. I have an apartment, and I am able to transport myself independently by bus, bike or walking. We are not supposed to necessarily understand God’s will. But we are only to follow and trust in him. For us the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than your thoughts, said the lord. Isaiah 55:9. Never lose faith. You are one of his sheep, and he is constantly watching over his flock.
I love you, and I wanted you to know. P.S., God is all we need.
'I saw my dad changed my mom. They almost changed me'
Statement by Jennifer Turpin, 30
I’m in college now and living independently. I love hanging out with my friends, and life is great. I believe everything happens for a reason. Life may have been bad, but it made me strong. I fought to become the person I am. I saw my dad changed my mom. They almost changed me, but I realized what was happening. I immediately did what I could to not become like that. I’m a fighter, I’m strong, and I’m shooting through life like a rocket.