Walworth County couple accused of hitting, stabbing, using pepper spray on kids
WTMJ News Team
Cody Holyoke reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
ELKHORN- Martin and Kathleen O'Brien came to a Walworth County courtroom to face serious charges on Tuesday.
Prosecutors maintain the couple subjected their children to heinous abuse in their Lake Geneva home.
Kathleen O'Brien has been charged with four felony counts of child abuse and eight counts of disorderly conduct; Martin O'Brien is facing six felony counts of child abuse and six counts of disorderly conduct.
Making the most of a court appearance, Kathleen O'Brien changed attorneys. She and her husband, Martin, also requested a new judge be assigned to their case.
Their children told a social worker the couple would strike them, spray them with pepper spray, even stab one of them with a pocket knife.
More than once, the kids claim their parents made adopted kids stand naked on an enclosed porch while the biological family ate dinner inside.
The news of what's alleged to have happened in that home has sent shockwaves through that rural community.
Neighbors are now watching this case closely and waiting for answers.
Neighbor Lynne Marquette would often see and speak to the O'Brien children on walks. She came to court to watch the case play out.
"I couldn't believe some of those things. We had no idea," said Marquette.
Neighbors will have to wait a little longer. The O'Briens await a new judge and a new court date
The couple could spend decades in prison.
Their children were removed from the home last year.