A Monroe County couple charged with several counts of child abuse and neglect entered guilty pleas in separate hearings before 10th Circuit Court Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd last week in a plea deal.

A Monroe County couple charged with several counts of child abuse and neglect entered guilty pleas in separate hearings before 10th Circuit Court Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd last week in a plea deal.

David Kevin Elzea pleaded guilty to two unlawful weapons charges and child abuse by placing a minor at risk. He received seven years on each weapons charge and four years on the child endangerment charge, to be served consecutively. However, Elzea is entering a shock incarceration program that could have him released from prison after 120 days to serve probation. For that to happen, he would have to be recommended for probation by the Department of Corrections, and approved by the judge. Elzea had faced several charges related to child endangerment, domestic abuse and weapons charges.

His wife, Brandy Elzea, entered a guilty plea on a single count of endangering the welfare of a child. She received a suspended sentence of seven years in prison. She will be on probation for five years, under her plea agreement. Elzea was accused of allowing the abuse of her children to take place without taking any steps to protect the children.

Prosecutors and law enforcement paint a picture of the Elzea home where their children were subjected to threats and abuse by their father, and where his wife was also subjected to domestic abuse.

According to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Department report, deputies were called to the Elzea home in rural Monroe County on Jan. 18, after a call from the Monroe County Children’s Division to investigate the parents based on a call to the child abuse hotline. A sheriff’s deputy reported that during an interview, he was told of several alleged incidents of abuse by David Elzea.

David Elzea had already been arrested and charged with domestic abuse several days earlier. On the day a deputy was called to the house, it was alleged that David Elzea grabbed a shotgun and threatened to shoot his wife. It was reported that the incident was witnessed by several of their children.

David Elzea, the Sheriff’s report stated, was convicted in August of 1983 on second-degree burglary charges and did not have the legal right to possess a firearm. The shotgun used in the alleged incident was seized by the deputy.

Deputies said that Brandy Elzea related other alleged incidents of being confronted by her husband with a firearm, including firing the weapon inside the house.

During witness impact statements before the separate sentencing hearings of David and Brandy Elzea, the woman now serving as guardian for the seven of the Elzeas’ children said that it would take years to for the children to overcome the trauma of the violence in their household.

The guardian, who is not being identified by the Salt River Journal to protect the privacy of the children, urged Shepherd to order both parents to have no contact with the seven children. The judge granted the order.

Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick said during the sentencing review that she had no doubts that Brandy Elzea had been the victim of domestic abuse, but that she “crossed a line” when she did not protect her children.