A Southern California couple suspected of starving and shackling some of their 13 children pleaded not guilty Friday to new charges of child abuse.
The next court hearing is set for March 23 with a May 14 start date for the preliminary hearing but David Turpin's attorney, David Macher, noted that there is "a lot of evidence" so the preliminary hearing will likely be postponed. "It's primarily law enforcement who testify", Hall told the Daily News.
The Riverside County District Attorney's Office filed an amended felony complaint - the document that lays out the charges - but that complaint had not been made public as of midday Friday.
In total, Louise and David Turpin each face about 40 charges, including a dozen counts of torture and another dozen counts of false imprisonment. The shocking crimes alleged in their case have been covered in state, national and worldwide media - where the Turpin home has come to be known as the "horror house".
The couple has been held on $12 million bail each since they were arrested last month.
Louise Turpin, left, and her attorney, Jeff Moore, appear in court for a conference about their case in Riverside, Calif., Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
The case drew global media attention and shocked neighbors who said they rarely saw the couple's 13 children outside the home. The county is seeking custodial rights over them.
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A state court judge last month barred the Turpins from directly contacting their children and other potential witnesses in the case for the next three years. Under their parents' thumb, they allegedly spent days or weeks at a time chained to their beds.
Hestrin acknowledged that while the alleged abuse was extreme, there's no evidence the Turpins had an intent to kill.
"We are grateful for the extraordinary generosity and goodwill of the many people who have gone above and beyond to help them", Mason said in a statement.
Another neighbor, Robert Perkins, said he once complimented the family when he saw a few of them constructing a Nativity scene in their front yard a fews years ago. I'm not just saying this stuff.
"She would tell us the kids are doing great. They were "sweetie" this and "sweetie" that to each other". The Turpins, according to relatives, moved to California to be "closer to Hollywood", chasing dreams of a reality show about their large, picturesque family. They had previously resided in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Turpin brood was rescued in January from Perris, east of Los Angeles after the eldest girl escaped and called the police from an old cellphone she'd squirreled away. She called authorities using a deactivated mobile phone, according to sheriff's Capt. Greg Fellows.
"I believe that my sister wanted a reality show because the very last conversation that I had with her before all this happened - she did actually say that she feels that they would be flawless for TV at one point", said Billy Lambert, Louis Turpin's brother, in an interview with Inside Edition.