A man accused of torturing many of his 13 children pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of lying on government forms about their schooling.
David Turpin entered the pleas in a Riverside courtroom to eight counts of perjury. His wife Louise pleaded not guilty to three charges of false imprisonment and one of assault.
The couple previously pleaded not guilty to torture, abuse and other charges. They are each being held on $12 million bail.
The Turpins were arrested after a daughter escaped from their Perris home in January and called 911. The girl jumped through a window shortly before 6 a.m. on Jan. 14, carrying a deactivated mobile phone with which she was able to dial 911, according to Riverside County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Fellows. She told dispatchers her brothers and sisters were in distress, and when deputies arrived, she presented them with photographs documenting conditions inside the residence, the captain said.
Couple Barred From Having Contact With Children
Authorities say children in the home were starved and allowed to do little except write in journals.
The children ranged in age from 2 to 29.
Prosecutors say David Turpin filled out forms yearly saying the children were receiving a full-time education in a private day school. A defense motion to have the perjury counts dismissed was denied.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in January that the siblings suffered "severe neglect" and the alleged prolonged harm left them physically and cognitively impaired.
Hestrin acknowledged that while the abuse was extreme, there's no evidence the Turpins had an intent to kill. The county's top prosecutor would say nothing about a motive, only alluding to an alleged pattern of behavior that pointed to the defendants' gratification from manipulation.