Several children from the notorious “house of horrors” in California spoke in front of a packed courtroom about their abuse and torture just before their parent’s sentencing on April 19.
“Life may have been bad, but it made me strong,” one of the children, identified as Jane Doe No. 4, said in her impact statement, reported Fox News.
“My parents took my whole life from me but now I’m taking my whole life back,” she continued. “I am a fighter, I’m strong and I’m shooting through life like a rocket.”
, who inflicted years of abuse on 12 of their 13 children, pleaded guilty to 14 charges including child endangerment and torture in February. They were sentenced to life in prison on Friday with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
One of Turpin’s sons also read a statement to the courtroom. He said, “Sometimes, I still have nightmares of things that have happened, like my siblings getting chained up or beaten.”
Despite the pain they endured, some of the children were still sympathetic toward their parents.
“I think 25 years is too long,” another child said in their statement. “I believe our parents did their best to raise all 13 of us.”
The Turpin couple also gave statements to the court, apologizing to their children.
“I’m sorry if I’ve done anything to cause them harm,” David Turpin said in a written statement, partly read by his attorney.
“I hope and pray my children can stay close to each other since their mother and father can’t be there for them,” he continued.
“I am so proud of each and every one of my children. I miss all of our children and I will be praying for them.”
His wife Louise read out a similar apology to her children. She said, “We want the best for them and their happiness is important to me.”
“I believe God has a special plan for each of them and I wish I could tell them I’m sorry. I want them to know how special they are and how proud I am of them,” she added.
The couple was found guilty of keeping their kids shackled to beds in their home in Perris. They also gave them little food and didn’t allow them to shower often—only once a year.
Their 17-year-old daughter escaped their home and called 911 using a cellphone in January 2018, leading to the arrests.
When officials arrived on the scene, they discovered severely underweight children and adults living in the home. The house was also filthy and reeked of human waste.
Officials also discovered the children—who ranged in age from 2 to 29—were starved, beaten, and put in cages. Some showed signs of stunted growth and atrophying muscles.
Investigators found that the 2-year-old had not been abused, but all of the children were hospitalized after they were discovered.
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Bernard Schwartz described the couple’s torture as “selfish, cruel, and inhumane,” adding that they had “severed the ability to interact and raise your children [that] you have created and brought into this world,” reported Fox News.