RIVERSIDE, CA — Lawyers for Louise Turpin, facing 40 felonies for the years-long extreme abuse of her 13 children, attempted to convince a judge to move her to a diversionary mental health program and failed.
In the most recent development in the so-called Perris Torture Case, the distaff half of the husband-and-wife Defendant Duo tried to skate on a raft of charges by entering a diversionary program for the insane, and was smacked down by Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Schwartz.
On October 5th, attorney Jeff Moore told the court that Louise Anna Turpin had been diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder, and that "the actions that underlie the charges were motivated or caused by the mental health disorder."
California state law allows mentally ill defendants in criminal cases to enter diversionary mental health treatment; successful completion of said treatment sometimes results in the original charges being dismissed. This special "mental health court" is not an option in all cases; availability depends upon the specific mental health diagnosis and the charges involved.
Apparently torture, false imprisonment and child abuse do not disqualify one from this program.
The judge wasn't buying Moore's argument, citing the nature, severity and duration of the abuse and remarking that, accordingly, it was his opinion that Ma Turpin "pose[d] an unreasonable risk to public safety."
That legal rebuff leaves her facing forty felony counts: 12 each of torture and false imprisonment, plus eight child abuse charges, seven charges of cruelty to a dependent adult... and one assault charge to grow on.
This boatload of legal trouble stems from a little incident in January where one of the Turpin brood escaped from captivity and called Perris, California police on a deactivated cellphone. That's right, cellphones will still dial 911, even if you don't pay the bill.
When police entered the "dark and foul-smelling" suburban California house, they found the end result of years of systemic child abuse: 13 children ranging in age from 2 to 29, all but the youngest of whom were severely malnourished, to the point that "many of the children [were] undersized for their age," some by as much as 40 pounds. Malnourishment during their formative years had even left some of them mentally impaired.
Some of the kids were found chained and padlocked to their beds. They were all filthy, and utterly bereft of medical and dental care.
Testimony at a preliminary hearing in June shed some light on the nature and extent of the abuse that was dished out at Sandcastle Day School, aka Casa de Turpin. That's right, not only was it a hellhole of a home, it was a shithole of a school as well.
In addition to being starved and chained up in filth, there was a systematic "continuum of correction" for misbehavior, though how you misbehave when you're chained to a bed is beyond me. What it got you, though, if you figured out how to do it, started with a simple beating by hand and maybe a tossing-about, and ended with your ass in a cage if what you did was bad enough.
No details are available on the curriculum itself.
By the time the Turpin clan moved to sunny California from Texas in 2010, it seems that Pa Turpin, aka David Allen Turpin, aka Captain Kangaroo, hardly had to lift a hand, "because the children behaved better out of fear... [after] decades of torment and physical abuse." Ma Turpin... well, she kept handing out the beatings regardless.
And Pa had other fish to fry: there were hints of sexual abuse as well. Pa drew a single charge of lewd acts on a child under 14 years old for giving at least one of the girls naked horsie rides, and for snatching a kiss or two.
The next court date in the case is November 30th. Until then, Ma and Pa will stay in jail, since neither of them seem to be able to post a $12 million bail.
Now, lest you think that all was darkness and horror at Chez Turpin, I will tell you that Ma and Pa genuinely love each other. I know that because they have renewed their wedding vows three times, each time standing tall before God and Elvis to proclaim their undying love for each other. They even cleaned up their unwashed, tormented brood to join them last time, in a creepy, identically-dressed mockery of the stereotypical Big Happy Family.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
The forum thread for this story can be found here.
Last edited by a moderator: