Perris torture case: Judge denies request by Turpin children's mother to attend mental-health program

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A couple accused of starving, beating and inflicting other abuse on 12 of their 13 children at their Perris home returned to court, where a judge turned down a key request by the victims' mother.

David Turpin, 56, and his wife, 49-year-old Louise Turpin, have more than three dozen felony charges against them each. They both face charges of torture, perjury, false imprisonment and abuse.

Louise Turpin's defense attorney requested that she be allowed to attend a mental-health diversion program, claiming that she had recently been diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder. The attorney claimed the disorder caused Turpin to be controlling, adding that a psychologist who diagnosed her said her actions are motivated by the disorder.

Dr. Eryn Parks, with the UC Riverside department of psychology, said the disorder is rare and difficult to treat. He has not evaluated Turpin and is not associated with the criminal case.

"It's marked by two big things: excessive emotionality and a need for attention. They're uncomfortable without attention. They have a very shallow emotionality," he said.

Judge Bernard Schwartz denied the request, saying the court was not satisfied that Louise Turpin did not pose a threat to public safety. He cited the lack of care for her children and facts that were presented during a preliminary hearing.

Louise Turpin's attorney said had she been granted the treatment, it could have delayed the trial for up to two years. The charges against her could have also been dismissed.

A trial-readiness hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 30.

The couple was arrested at their Perris home in January after one of their daughters escaped.

MORE: Outline of accusations against Turpin parents
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Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin revealed horrific details about the 13 siblings who were allegedly held captive by their parents in Perris.

Police said they found the children living in squalor and shackled to furniture.

Prosecutors have presented evidence that the couple chained their 12 children to bed as punishment and deprived them of food. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz dismissed an abuse charge pertaining to their youngest daughter, age 2.

The alleged years-long abuse was so extreme, most of the children were emaciated and barely educated.

Authorities have said the Turpin home reeked of human waste and the evidence of starvation was obvious, with the oldest of 13 siblings weighing just 82 pounds.

The Turpin parents' trial is expected to get underway in February or March of next year.

PHOTOS: Inside the Texas home where Perris siblings lived years ago
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