The Perris couple who have been accused of torturing their 13 children are due back in court today to schedule a series of preliminary hearings.
David and Louise Turpin will both be present for the hearing.
The Turpins have both been charged with more than two-dozen counts of torture, false imprisonment, child abuse and cruelty. David Turpin has also been charged with one count of lewd acts on a child under 14-years-old. His wife Louise has been charged with assault resulting in great bodily injury.
Superior Court Judge Emma Smith is expected to scheduled a second conference in April, as well as confirm with both sides that they will be able to move forward with a preliminary hearing that has been scheduled for May 14th.
That hearing, which is expected to last several days, will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to try the couple on all or some of the charges. The Turpins are currently being held at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside in lieu of $12 million bail and face up to 94 years to life in state prison if convicted.
The siblings, who range in age from two to 29-years-old, were discovered living in filthy living conditions on Jan. 14th after one of the children managed to escape the home and alert authorities by dialing 911 from a deactivated cell phone. She told sheriff's deputies that her 12 brothers and sisters needed help, and even provided photos documenting the horrid conditions the siblings were living in.
The children are currently in the care of the county Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services staff. The siblings were hospitalized after their discovery for a variety of issues including malnourishment and neglect. An uncle of the 13 siblings has offered to adopt them.
The siblings suffered "severe neglect" according to District Attorney Mike Hestrin, and says the parents' neglect left the siblings physically and cognitively damaged.
Officials say the siblings were only fed once a day, and were allowed to shower once per year. If they washed their hands, they would be accused of "playing in the water" and chained up.
Investigators say the family moved to Murrieta in 2010 after residing in Fort Worth, Texas. They were reportedly preparing a move to Oklahoma which may have prompted the 17-year-old's escape, authorities said.
The couple have not been charged with torturing their 2-year-old, who appeared to have been properly taken care of.
Both parents have pleaded "Not Guilty" to the charges against them.
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