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Parents accused of holding their 13 children captive appear in court

David and Louise Turpin are facing a string of charges, including torture, after police say the couple kept their 13 children locked away in subhuman conditions in their Perris, California, home. On Thursday, the Turpins made their first court appearance.

>> Watch the video here

>> On Rare.us: Here’s what the children in the California torture house did to cope with the alleged abuse

David Turpin appeared in chains, wearing a lavender shirt and black jacket while his wife sat nearby, also in chains and a black jacket. The Turpins entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges, some of which date back to 2010. The district attorney says the couple is facing 94 years to life in prison if convicted on all counts.

>> Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

During the arraignment, the Turpins were quiet and spoke only to say they acknowledged their right to a speedy preliminary hearing, CBS reports. They will appear in court again on Feb. 23, and their bail was set at $13 million.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a press conference, “As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that will haunt you. Sometimes, in this business, we’re faced with looking at human depravity, and that’s what we’re looking at here.”

Authorities said the parents were able to keep their children hidden away by listing their home as a private school. Some of the kids, who ranged in ages from 2 to 29, reportedly didn’t know what a police officer was.

The children were only allowed to eat once a day and shower twice a year, authorities said. However, the parents reportedly did allow them to keep journals, and authorities said the kids filled hundreds of notebooks. Those have not been released and are still being reviewed by law enforcement.

The children are currently being cared for in the hospital, authorities said. The Riverside University Health System has set up a fund for the children that will go to their long-term needs, according to a press release. The hospital said the children have already seen a tremendous outpouring of support.

>> Read more trending news 

Brian Rokos of the Press-Enterprise was present at the hearing and reported that David Turpin is being represented by a public defender, while Louise Turpin has outside counsel. During Thursday’s arraignment, the public defender requested that media be banned from the trial, but the judge shot that down. Rokos said reporters from around the world were in the courtroom. The Turpins' lawyers have not announced whether they will try to have the case moved out of Riverside County.

Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

A pair of well-kept dogs were taken from the Perris, California, house where 13 children were found shackled and severely malnourished last week.

>> Watch the news report here

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, are facing a minimum of 94 years for charges including child neglect and torture after police said their children, ranging from ages 2 to 29, were discovered in their home severely malnourished.

>> Neighbors of parents accused of holding 13 kids captive describe family as odd, reclusive

In a statement on Wednesday, city spokesman Joe Vargo said authorities recovered two Maltese terrier dogs in far better condition than the Turpins’ children. The 1-year-old female puppies were reportedly healthy and were taught skills, People reported.

“The animals, one white and one black, appear healthy and friendly and are leash-trained, according to Christina Avila, a senior animal control officer,” a press release from the city of Perris said.

>> Read more trending news 

The dogs — one was named Fluffy — were featured in photos from the city appearing well-groomed and in sweaters. An adoption raffle for the pups is being held through Jan. 26 to find them new homes.

Investigators said the children were only allowed showers a few times per year and were fed only once per day. In a press conference with reporters Thursday, District Attorney Mike Hestrin alleged that the last time any of the children had seen a doctor was four years ago and they had never been to a dentist. Police said the parents allegedly kept themselves well-fed and regularly ate pies in front of their children to taunt them, ABC News reported.

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

The 17-year-old who reportedly escaped the home through a bedroom window to alert authorities was initially believed to be just 10 years old due to the severity of her malnourishment, while the oldest victim, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82 pounds when the children were found. According to Hestrin, the children “lack a basic knowledge of life,” although they were allegedly homeschooled, KTLA reported.

According to the Daily Mail, the parents face a combined total of 75 charges, and each was being held on $12 million bond.

Florida man accused of shoplifting, leaving child in running car at Walmart

Police arrested a man at a Walmart in Florida Thursday night after he allegedly left a 7-year-old child in his car while he went inside the store and shoplifted.

Around 8 p.m., a loss prevention officer spotted Derek Kingsland, 29, in the Jupiter store “looking around suspiciously,” the arrest report stated.

Kingsland attempted to purchase $48 worth of items at the self-checkout line, but when his card was declined he walked to the women’s section of the store, placed the items in his pocket and attempted to walk out, the Palm Beach Post reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Among the items listed as stolen on the police report were cordless phone batteries, a knife, an air compressor, a ratchet and a Starbucks coffee drink.

Jupiter police officers met with Kingsland, who admitted that he did not have enough money to purchase the items and tried to take them without paying. He then said to officers that he would go to his car to get money and that he left a sleeping child in his car.

Officers found the child awake inside the car with the engine running. A relative picked up the child and officers arrested Kingsland on charges of shoplifting, child abuse, and use of an anti-theft device.

Kingsland remains at the Palm Beach County Jail on a $18,000 bond, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Arizona mother who gave toddler fatal meth dose receives 20-year prison sentence

An Arizona woman who gave her toddler a fatal dose of methamphetamine in 2016 was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.

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Natalie Russell, 30, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and child abuse, azcentral.com reported. Russell claimed she gave her 22-month-old daughter meth to counteract the effects of methadone. The child had accidentally ingested methadone that was left in an open container, Russell allegedly told police. Officials said Russell failed to get her daughter medical assistance.

Several friends and family members attended Russell's sentencing at the Maricopa County Superior Court, azcenteral.com reported. Russell's supporters said they forgave her for her actions. Russell maintains that she never meant to harm her daughter, and her actions were driven by her drug addiction.

Deputies: Florida man tries to order burrito from bank, gets charged with DUI

Police in Florida arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol after authorities said he attempted to order a burrito from a Bank of America after confusing it for a Taco Bell, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Records from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office show authorities arrested Douglas Jon Francisco, 28, on Wednesday.

The manager of the Bank of America branch on Mariner Boulevard in Spring Hill, Martin Claussen, called authorities Wednesday afternoon after he said he found a blue Hyundai in the bank’s drive-up bank lane with a man who appeared to be passed out inside, WTSP reported.

Claussen said he had to bang on the car window several times before Francisco awoke, according to the Tampa Bay Times. When Francisco saw the bank manager, deputies said he tried to order a burrito.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

Claussen told Francisco that he was not at a Taco Bell and Francisco drove the Hyundai to the bank’s front parking lot, according to the Times. Deputies said he was in the front parking lot, the car still idling, when authorities arrived.

In an arrest report, a deputy wrote that Francisco “made several statements that were differing from reality” and denied asking Claussen for a burrito. Deputies said his responses during a field sobriety test “were slow in a way that was consistent with someone on prescription narcotics,” WTSP reported. He was given a drug test, the results of which were pending.

During a search of the Hyundai, deputies said they found prescription medication that had been made out in Francisco’s name, according to the Times.

Jail records show Francisco was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and released Thursday afternoon on a $500 bond.

White supremacists responsible for most extremist killings in 2017, ADL says

Far-right extremists – particularly white supremacists – were responsible for more than half of the deaths attributed to extremists in the United States last year, according to a report issued this week by the Anti-Defamation League.

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Twenty of the 34 extremist-related killings in 2017 were carried out by far-right extremists, more than double the number that group was responsible for in 2016, according to the ADL’s annual report on extremist-related killings in America. 

Eighteen of those 20 deaths were caused by white supremacists, according to the ADL.

The incidents noted by the ADL included the August 2017 death of Heather Heyer, 32, who was protesting a rally organized by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, when authorities said she was mowed down by a vehicle driven by James Alex Fields, 20.

>> Related: 3 dead, 35 injured after 'Unite the Right' rally sparks violence in Charlottesville

“We cannot ignore the fact that white supremacists are emboldened, and as a society we need to keep a close watch on recruitment and rallies such as Charlottesville, which have the greatest potential to provoke and inspire violence,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a news release.

The deadliest incident of last year, however, was carried out by an Islamic extremist. Eight people died in October when a man identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29, plowed a pickup truck into bicyclists and pedestrians on a path in New York City.

>> Related: Who is Sayfullo Saipov, New York City terror attack suspect?

Including the October killings, a total of nine deaths were attributed to Islamic extremists, according to the ADL. Black nationalists were responsible for five of the killings reported in 2017, according to the ADL.

“These findings are a stark reminder that domestic extremism is a serious threat to our safety and security,” Greenblatt said. “We saw two car-ramming attacks in the U.S. last year -- one from an Islamic terrorist and another from a white supremacist in Charlottesville -- and the number of deaths attributed to white supremacists increased substantially. The bottom line is we cannot ignore one form of extremism over another. We must tackle them all.”

The ADL urged officials to “use their bully pulpit to speak out against racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry at every opportunity” to mitigate the extremist threat. The ADL also recommended that federal and state officials create programs to help those trying to leave extremist movements and to “thwart (the) recruitment of disaffected or alienated Americans.”

Read the full report from the ADL

2 arrested after infant, 4-year-old dumped along freezing roads

Authorities have captured two teens they say stole an SUV with two children inside before abandoning them in below freezing temperatures.

>> Read more trending news

Khyree Swift, 17, and an unidentified 16-year-old have been charged with kidnapping, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators said they tracked a stolen iPad to the home of one of the suspects, WSB-TV reported.

>> On AJC.com: SUV thief dumped little girl, 1-month-old baby along freezing roads

Swift was arrested Friday by Riverdale police, according to jail records. He appeared in court later in the day and was denied bond, WSB-TV reported.

Swift told a judge he doesn’t understand the allegations against him, according to the news station. His family told WSB-TV that Swift had nothing to do with the crime.

It is not clear when the other teen was captured.

Swift and the 16-year-old are accused of taking Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox about 5 p.m. Wednesday from a QuikTrip on Riverdale Road.

Wilmer left her daughters, 1-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport, in the SUV with the engine running while she went inside the convenience store, Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said.

She came out of the store and saw her car being driven away with her children in the back seat, police said. 

The girls were later found miles apart. 

Georgia State University police Chief Joseph Spillane found Arya walking on the shoulder of a roadway near I-285 and Riverdale Road, police said.

Channel 2 photojournalist Brian Ferguson found Ava in the middle of South Fulton Parkway, still strapped in her car seat.

>> On AJC.com: Children carjacked in Atlanta saved by passers-by in frigid weather 

At the time, the temperature was in the 20s, but it felt like the single digits.

The girls appeared to be OK, but were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center as a precaution. 

Atlanta police later located Precious Wilmer’s SUV on Metropolitan Parkway. 

In addition to kidnapping, Swift faces charges of theft by receiving stolen property, cruelty to children in the first degree and theft by taking.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writers Steve Burns and Raisa Habersham contributed to this report

DA: Captive siblings limited to one meal a day, one shower a year

The 13 siblings taken from a California home after they were held captive by their parents were allowed to eat only one rationed meal a day and shower once a year, a prosecutor said Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said that David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were charged with 12 counts of torture, CNN reported. Hestrin said that David Turpin also was charged with a lewd act on a child by force or fear of duress.

The children were allegedly beaten, choked and chained to their beds at their residence in Perris, California, NBC News reported.

“This is severe, emotional and physical abuse. There is no way around that,” Hestrin said. “This is depraved conduct.”

The siblings range in age from 2 to 29. Six are minors, CNN reported.

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive

Hestrin said the Turpins would buy toys but not let the children play with them or even take them out of the packaging. They also would make pumpkin pies and not let the hungry children eat them, the prosecutor said.

“In more than 20 years as a prosecutor in Riverside County, this is one of the most disturbing cases I've seen,” Hestrin said. “We are fully prepared to seek justice in this case and to do so in a way that protects all of these victims from further harm.”

Lawyers for the Turpins entered not guilty pleas to more than three dozen charges that could send the couple to prison for 94 years to life, NBC News reported. Bail was set at $12 million.

The Turpins were arrested Sunday after Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies said they found several children “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.”

Hestrin said the abuse “started out as neglect” but became more severe. He added that the charges only covered the eight years the Turpins lived in Riverside County.

Hestrin added that the children were allowed to write in journals and that officials had recovered “hundreds of them,” adding they "are going to be strong evidence of what occurred in that home."

Authorities were alerted Sunday when the Turpins' 17-year-old daughter and her younger sister escaped through a window, NBC News reported.

"There was two of them that left the house," Hestrin said. "One of them turned back because she was afraid."

The older teen called 911 for help with a cellphone she had found inside the house, Hestrin said.

Texas' 'Tourniquet Killer' executed via lethal injection

Houston’s “Tourniquet Killer” became the nation’s first prisoner executed in 2018, KTRK reported Thursday.

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Anthony Allen Shore, 55, who admitted to killing a woman and three girls in the 1980s and ‘90s, was executed by lethal injection, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

Shore received his nickname because of his method of using handmade tourniquets to torture and murder his victims, KTRK reported.

Shore was convicted for the 1992 strangling of 21-year-old Maria del Carmen Estrada, KTRK reported. Estrada’s body was found dumped in the drive-thru of a Dairy Queen in Houston.

Shore’s other victims included 14-year-old Laurie Lee Tremblay, 16-year-old Dana Sanchez and 9-year-old Diana Rebollar. All of the victims were raped and tortured, KTRK reported.

When he was convicted in 2004, Shore asked for the death penalty. Before his execution, Shore apologized, saying he wished he could undo his past, CNN reported.

Girl convicted of killing friend after Facebook selfie shows her wearing murder weapon 

A Facebook selfie with her best friend helped put a Canadian girl in prison after investigators spotted her in the photo wearing a belt she used later that night to kill the other teen.

Cheyenne Rose Antoine, 21, of Saskatoon, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday in the March 25, 2015 strangulation death of Brittney Jane Gargol. She was sentenced to seven years in prison.

CBC News reported that Antoine and Gargol, 18, were out partying together the night of the slaying. Gargol was found several hours later, mortally wounded, along the side of a road on the outskirts of Saskatoon near the city landfill. 

The man who found her told police she was cold to the touch, had no shoes on and that there was a belt lying near her body. Gargol died a short time later at a hospital. 

It took days to identify her, a task accomplished after police made public photos of her tattoos, along with images of the jacket and broken watch that were found on her body, CKOM in Saskatoon reported

Antoine initially told police that she and Gargol had gone to several bars before Gargol met a man at one of them and left with him. Investigators said she attempted to lead them on the wrong path by posting on Gargol’s Facebook page several hours after she killed her. 

“Where are you? Haven’t heard from you. Hope you made it home safe,” Antoine wrote, according to the Toronto Sun

She continued to post on Gargol’s page in the months after the homicide, including on a photo that Gargol posted of the pair just hours before she was slain. The victim made the photo, seen below, her profile picture shortly before she died. 

“Aweh, I miss you soo much, Bert! Wish heaven had visiting hours so I could come see you, but I'm so glad you came & visited me in my dream last night,” Antoine’s comment read, according to CBC News. “Looking forward to that day I see you again. Say hello to my mommy up there for me!”

Police investigators worked the case for nearly two years, using social media to create a timeline for Antoine and Gargol’s movements the night of the slaying. It was that last profile photo on Gargol’s page, however, that proved to be the break they needed.

Detectives noticed that Antoine wore a distinctive black belt, visible around her waist in the bottom left corner of the selfie that she and Gargol took together the night of the killing. The belt in the photo was the one found near Gargol’s dying body, CBC News reported.

The photo remained as Gargol’s profile picture for more than a year after her death. It has since been changed by her family. 

With a suspect in their sights, investigators were able to tear apart Antoine’s story about the pair bar-hopping the night of the crime by obtaining surveillance video from at least one bar that failed to show the girls where Antoine said they were. Another break came when a tip led police to a friend of Antoine’s, who told detectives that a panicked Antoine showed up at her house the night of the murder.

Antoine confessed to the friend that night that after getting into a drunken argument with Gargol, she hit her and then strangled her, CBC News said

She was arrested on suspicion of murder in March of last year. 

A plea deal between prosecutors and the defense brought the charge down to one of manslaughter. 

Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter praised the police work that ultimately led to Antoine’s arrest. 

“It’s quite remarkable how the police developed this information,” Ritter said. 

>> Read more trending news

Antoine admitted in court Monday that she killed her friend, but said she does not remember doing so. Her lawyer, Lisa Watson, told the court that Antoine, who suffered years of abuse in the foster care system, had been dealing with serious personal problems prior to the homicide. 

“My client had some very deep, personal issues that she was dealing with, and unfortunately, they turned into a very tragic situation for all involved,” Watson said, according to the Sun

Antoine’s troubled past, which began when she became a ward of the province of Saskatchewan at age 2, factored into her plea deal and sentence. CKOM reported that Antoine was in foster care at age 4 and spent a decade suffering physical and emotional abuse. 

Her criminal record began with car theft at age 12, two years before she reconnected with her mother, the station reported. She was exposed to heavy drug and alcohol use by her mother, who died about a year after being reunited with her daughter. 

At that point, she began moving between relatives, group homes and other institutions.

Ritter agreed with the defense that Antoine has serious personal issues. 

“This young woman has issues, and because of those issues, she is dangerous,” Ritter said, according to CKOM.

Those issues continued even after Antoine killed her friend. She was reported missing in August 2016 to Saskatoon police officials, who sought information on her whereabouts on Facebook.

At the time of her arrest for murder, Antoine was also awaiting sentencing for threatening a store’s loss prevention officer when she was caught stealing, CBC News reported. She threatened the officer with a needle that she claimed was contaminated with the HIV virus.   

Antoine issued a statement through her attorney Monday in which she said she cannot provide the answers she knows Gargol’s family members are looking for.

“She knows the family would like an explanation, a reason, but unfortunately, she can’t provide that,” Watson said. 

Gargol’s family provided victim impact statements during Antoine’s sentencing.

“Most days we can’t stop thinking about Brittney and what happened that night,” her aunt, Jennifer Gargol, said, according to CBC News. “What she must have felt fighting for her life.”

Gargol’s stepmother, Kristi Wickenhauser, also spoke in court, according to CKOM.

“You were her friend. She loved you, she respected you and she trusted you,” Wickenhauser said. “And instead you decided to wrap a belt around her throat and squeeze until you ended her life.”

Antoine apologized to Gargol’s family in the statement read by Watson.

“I will never forgive myself,” she said. “Nothing I say or do will ever bring her back. I am very, very sorry. It shouldn’t have ever happened.”

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