Idaho: Senate Committee Passes Self-Defense Legislation

Yesterday, the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee passed important self-defense legislation, House Bill 206.  HB 206 now heads to the Senate floor for final consideration.

Wisconsin court records detail investigation, charges in Sycamore woman's killing

Note to readers: These reports contain explicit descriptions of a murder scene.

Documents obtained from the Dodge County State's Attorney's office detail a gruesome scene Saturday when Ulisses Medina Espinosa shot and killed his ex-wife, Stacia Hollinshead, a DeKalb County prosecutor, while their five-year-old daughter was just feet away in the next room.

One suspect arrested in Sycamore armored car heist

SYCAMORE – Police said they have arrested one of the people who made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in a daylight armored car burglary in June.

Brandon Moore, 29, of Chicago, was indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of bank theft earlier this month, according to a news release sent Monday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. He could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain of the theft, whichever is less, according to the release.

On Friday, FBI agents and Sycamore police, including detective Sgt. Jeff Wig and detectives Jim Stehlin and John Keacher, went to Bedford Park to arrest Moore at a railroad facility, with help from CSX Railroad police.

Sycamore detectives worked with federal investigators for months to find suspects in the burglary, which occurred around 9:40 a.m. June 28 in the parking lot of Charley’s Video Gaming, 1470 S. Peace Road. Moore is in federal custody, officials said. Police had been watching his movements for some time, Wig said.

At least two other people are thought to have been involved, and the investigation remains “very active,” Wig said. It proved a complex case to unravel.

“There’s just a mountain of information to go through,” Wig said. “You’ve got people to go through, and then from there you’ve got to start looking at everything else, whether it’s phone activity, vehicles, stuff like that. You’re just inundated with information at first.”

Federal prosecutors allege Moore was one of a group that stole containers filled with cash from a Thillens armored car while it was parked in front of Charley’s. Video from a nearby camera showed two men loading the money into a silver Ford Edge SUV about 9:40 a.m. that day. Shortly after, police said they made their getaway, driving off through the parking lot of the Blain’s Farm and Fleet store nearby.

At the time, local police mounted an organized search for the vehicle, setting up a perimeter around the industrial park on Prairie Drive in Sycamore, but the thieves evaded them. The way the crime was committed suggested that the group had scouted the vehicle’s route before they donned ski masks and made their move.

“That Thillens truck had just left Heartland Bank,” Wig said. “It had made several stops that morning, some of which were at banks, so there was bank money involved.”

Moore faces a federal charge because there were bank funds stolen, which are federally insured, Wig said.

Wig declined to comment on whether police had recovered any of the stolen money, or if someone working for the armored car company had assisted them.

DeKalb County prosecutor killed in Beaver Dam, Wis., sought protection against ex

SYCAMORE – Andrew Morris spent 20 minutes chatting on the phone with his girlfriend, Stacia F. Hollinshead around 2 p.m. Saturday, while she drove her five-year-old daughter to visit grandparents in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

Twenty minutes later, Hollinshead was shot to death. Police say her ex-husband, Ulisses W. Medina Espinosa, 31, of Beaver Dam, pulled the trigger. Morris said he's devastated.

They'd been dating for more than a year, he said.

"... I just have so much bitterness and anger right now," Morris, 36, of DeKalb, said. "I was at the happiest I'd ever been in my life, and that's when I lose her."

Hollinshead, 30, of the 1800 block of Raintree Court in Sycamore, was a newly minted lawyer, an Army veteran and a Northern Illinois University law school graduate who had been hired as a DeKalb County assistant state's attorney in November. Her divorce from her husband, the father of her child, had become final in March of 2018, but the two-year separation process included her receiving orders of protection against him for erratic and harassing behavior, and a fight over visitation rights, according to DeKalb County court records.

Medina Espinosa had lost visitation rights, but both parents had agreed it was important their 5-year-old daughter have both parents in her life. So on March 15, Medina Espinosa's right to visit with his daugther was reinstated, provided Hollinshead supervised, court records show.

"More than anything, Stacia cared about her daughter and she wanted her to have continuity of life and a relationship with her grandparents," Morris said.

The arrangement had deadly consequences. Police say Medina Espinosa fatally shot his ex-wife in the kitchen of his parents' home on East Third Street in Beaver Dam, a town of about 17,000 northwest of Milwaukee. Police said she was pronounced dead at the scene.

"From what I've gleaned, her daughter was in the living room when it happened," Morris said.

Police took Medina Espinosa into custody without incident. No charges have been filed.

Claims of harassment

Hollinshead first asked a judge to order Medina Espinosa to keep away from her in August 2016, after filing for divorce in May 2016, court records show. Records show she cited a pattern of verbal and digital harassment from him, and requested his parental visitation rights with their daughter be limited.

In a statement to the judge, Hollinshead described an evening when she was out for a walk with a close friend and their children in DeKalb, and Medina Espinosa followed in his car, shouting at her from the road.

He did not relent when she declined to talk with him, records show, only driving away after police were called. Hollinshead told the court Espinosa later called her cell phone 26 times within a 20-minute window. At another point that evening, he called 13 times in 13 minutes. That night, Hollinshead stayed at the friend's house, and Espinosa called her 65 times in all.

"[Espinosa] is verbally and emotionally abusive to me," her statement read. "He frequently demands to call me on video-chat to talk to [our daughter] to verify our location."

A judge cited Espinosa's escalating behavior, and how he displayed mental instability, as reason for granting the order of protection, which expired June 11, 2018. He lost visitation rights two days later.

In September 2018, court records show Espinosa tried to get visitation rights back, alleging that the child had been sexually abused. Court records show Espinosa called DeKalb police the week of May 25, 2018, who advised him to take his daughter to the Child Advocacy Center in Woodstock. After interviewing the child, staff did not believe she had been sexually abused, records show. Espinosa wanted his daughter to have a physical exam, which they declined to perform, records show.

Later in the same week of May 2018, Hollinshead said DeKalb police called her to inform her of her daughter's interview, the allegations, and the fact that Espinosa wanted their daughter examined, which she declined to allow. The court denied his request and his visitation rights continued to be terminated.

When Medina Espinosa's visitation rights were reinstated, there were caveats: it had to be under Stacia's supervision, and Espinosa was required to begin counseling and take parenting classes.

"Both parties recognize the minor child needs to exercise parenting time with both parents," records read. "Both parents recognize the minor needs protection from the behavior that led to visitation rights being terminated."

Espinosa was also ordered not to discuss a number of things with his daughter, including the divorce, how and where she spends her time with her mother, court proceedings, if she's sat on anyone's lap, or getting his daughter a passport, taking her on a trip, or visiting Espinosa's family in Mexico.

Dedicated mother with a bright future

Hollinshead worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the DeKalb County Attorney's office, and Andrew Morris works for an attorney in St. Charles.

"Today is very surreal," said DeKalb County State's Attorney Rick Amato Monday, after releasing a statement on his colleague's death Sunday night. "The staff is doing as best as can be expected."

Mark Cordes, interim dean and professor of law at NIU's college of Law said his former student's death stunned the department.

"We at NIU law are stunned by this tragic and senseless loss of life," Cordes said in an email Sunday. "She was a very maturing and caring person, very engaged in her studies, and was an extremely dedicated and loving mother. Stacia had tremendous potential as a lawyer and a very bright future ahead of herself. She was the type of graduate that makes our school very proud."

Morris remembered her kind nature and concern for her child.

"One of the things that always struck me was her absolute dedication to her daughter," Morris said. "She was the most conscientious and careful mother, and she would do anything to add to her daughter's life. That was what drove all of her actions.

"She is, in many ways, kind of almost opposite extremes," Morris said. "She's passionate and she would fight for what she believed in, fiercely. At the same time, she was such a gentle soul. loving, and thoughtful."

Breaking: DeKalb boy shot on Saturday dies

Ezra Hill Jr., a 10-year-old DeKalb boy who was shot on Saturday while visiting his father in south suburban Harvey, has died, a family friend confirmed Monday.

Hill was a fourth-grader at Tyler Elementary in DeKalb. who was sometimes known as "E.J.". His youth wrestling coach, Max Hiatt, said he Hill was always smiling. He called him "one of the good kids."

“He’s a great kid. He’s funny," Hiatt said. "As nice as the other kids on the team. Hard-working. Always (has) a smile on his face."

The Associated Press reported that Harvey police say the pair was outside their home about 1:30 p.m. Saturday when shots were fired from another car. The boy's father was not wounded. Slugs also struck a nearby house and another vehicle. Police were trying to determine a motive for the shooting.

The tragedy has affected the District 428 family in a number of ways, District Superintendent Jamie Craven said. Hill's mother, Drea Harden, also has worked in several district schools as a substitute teacher.

Schools in DeKalb are closed for spring break this week, but the tragedy has led to plans to reopen Tyler. School officials say there will be grief counselors on hand at the school at 1021 Alden Circle in DeKalb on Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m.

A parent or guardian must accompany their child and sign them in and out, according to an email from Principal Lissette Jacobson.

"In addition, an increased level of individual and group counseling services will be made available when school resumes on Monday, April 1," Jacobson wrote in an email to parents. "The entire school community will be briefed of the facts and the opportunities for additional support on April 1."

Hill Jr. had success on the wrestling mat, placing at numerous tournaments, including taking third place at 95 pounds at sectionals in early March.

“He gets along with all the kids on the team," Hiatt said. "He definitely has some good relationship with other kids on the team. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone had anything bad to say about him.”

Lissette Jacobson, principal of Tyler Elementary, sent an email to parents and caretakers Monday morning, detailing ways to speak with children and anyone who may deal with potential trauma pertaining to Ezra's condition. The school is offering "an increased level of individual and group counseling services will be made available when school resumes on Monday, April 1st."

Jacobsen also offered advice for parents whose children may struggle with the tragic news.

"Please be aware that your child may experience strong feelings in response to this crisis, including sorrow and depression, anger, fear, or even guilt," Jacobsen wrote in an email. "He or she may have difficulty sleeping and/or experience nightmares or may temporarily regress in his or her behavior or academically. If your child has special needs, he or she may have trouble communicating their feelings and may need additional time and space to process this information.

"All children will likely have a need at this time for your comfort and support; please try to be available to listen with patience and understanding."

Breaking: Police arrest 1 in connection with Sycamore armored car heist

SYCAMORE – Police say they have arrested one of the people who made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in a daylight armored car burglary last June.

Brandon Moore, 29, of Chicago, was indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of bank theft earlier this month, according to a news release sent Monday from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois. He could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain of the theft, whichever is less, according to the release.

On Friday, FBI agents and Sycamore police, including Detective Sgt. Jeff Wig and detectives Jim Stehlin and John Keacher, went to Bedford Park to arrest Moore at a railroad facility, with help from CSX Railroad police.

Sycamore detectives worked with federal investigators for months to find suspects in the burglary, which occurred around 9:40 a.m. June 28, 2018, in the parking lot of Charley's Video Gaming, 1470 S. Peace Road. Moore is in federal custody, officials said. Police had been watching his movements for some time, Wig said.

At least two other people are thought to have been involved, and the investigation remains "very active," Wig said. It proved a complex case to unravel.

"There's just a mountain of information to go through," Wig said. "You've got people to go through, and then from there you've got to start looking at everything else, whether it's phone activity, vehicles, stuff like that. You're just inundated with information at first."

Federal prosecutors allege Moore was one of a group that stole containers filled with cash from a Thillens armored car while it was parked in front of Charley's. Video from a nearby camera showed two men loading the money into a silver Ford Edge SUV around 9:40 a.m. that day. Shortly after, police say they made their getaway, driving off through the parking lot of the Blain's Farm and Fleet store nearby.

At the time, local police mounted an organized search for the vehicle, setting up a perimeter around the industrial park on Prairie Drive in Sycamore, but the thieves evaded them. The way the crime was committed suggested that the group had scouted the vehicle's route before they donned ski masks and made their move.

"That Thillens truck had just left Heartland Bank," Wig said. "It had made several stops that morning, some of which were at banks, so there was bank money involved."

Moore faces a federal charge because there were bank funds stolen, which are federally insured, Wig said.

Wig declined to comment on whether police had recovered any of the stolen money, or if someone working for the armored car company had assisted them.

There It Is...Ocasio-Cortez Pushes For A Gun Ban

The New Zealand shooting, which left 50 people dead, is already being weaponized by the Left to pursue yet another wave of anti-gun activism. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government virtually banned semi-automatic rifles, so of course, Democrats over here were oozing with all the feelings over that. Sen. Bernie Sanders was all over it almost immediately after news of the ban was reported. There is no wiggle room in Kiwi land, folks. It’s a gun confiscation program. No grandfather clause, or anything, if you own a so-called “military-style” assault rifle (liberal speak for a scary gun), you need to turn them over. It’s trash, but it’s also a good reminder for why we have a Second Amendment to our constitution. There are some in the media who say that no one has called for a gun ban. That’s patently false. The newest to voice their gun grabbing feelings is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Sheriff's office announces results of St. Patrick's Day weekend enforcement

SYCAMORE – DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies arrested for people for driving under the influence and issued six seat belt violation citations during their St. Patrick's Day traffic enforcement period.

"Because of the efforts by our community leaders to spread the word about alcohol- and drug-impaired driving, the streets were safer during the St. Patrick's Day holiday," Sheriff's Lt. Jim Burgh said in a news release. "We strongly enforce traffic laws for one reason – to save lives."

The Sheriff's office announced in advance plans to have special patrols on the street during the weekend of March 15 to 17, which included the St. Patrick's Day holiday.

Washington: Firearm Seizure & Other Bills to Be Heard In Committees

This week, the Washington state Senate Committee on Law & Justice and the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary will be hearing several bills affecting Second Amendment rights that crossed over from the opposite chamber.

Breaking: DeKalb County prosecutor shot to death in Wisconsin

SYCAMORE – A mother of one who was shot to death in an incident of domestic violence Saturday in Wisconsin was also a prosecutor with the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s office.

Stacia F. Hollinshead, 30, of the 1800 block of Raintree Court, Sycamore, was fatally wounded in a home in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, around 2:40 p.m. Saturday, Beaver Dam Police said on their Facebook page. According to the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen newspaper, police have identified the suspect as Ulisses W. Medina Espinosa of Beaver Dam.

Hollinshead's death shocked State's Attorney Rick Amato and the other 11 prosecutors in his office.

"As prosecutors, we intervene in domestic violence cases in court to prevent the nightmare outcome that we’re all now living through," Amato said in a written statement. "Stacia’s tragic death drives home many points that we make constantly: Domestic violence is about power and control, it is learned behavior, it is present in all communities, it crosses all social and economic barriers, and it is preventable.

"No faction of society is immune from it, not even those who work in the public safety arena, fiercely dedicated to stopping it."

Hollinshead was a graduate of Northern Illinois University law school, and served 11 years as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Amato said. She had joined Amato's office in November after being sworn in as a new lawyer in October, and had previously been an intern at CASA Kane County, he said. She graduated from Dieterich High School, near Effingham, he said.

“We were just getting to know her,” Amato said. “For anybody to be victim of domestic violence, let alone a prosecutor, it’s just horrible.”

Hollinshead has a daughter who attends school in Sycamore, and Amato said Hollinshead seemed happiest when the two were together.

"Stacia shined her brightest when she was around her daughter," Amato wrote. "Because Stacia was such a hard worker, she would often bring her daughter to the office as she completed her work for the day. Her daughter was instantly a favorite among the staff.

"Together they would brighten the office and were a joy to be around."

Beaver Dam is a town of about 17,000 people northwest of Milwaukee. Violence is rare there – the Daily Citizen reported it was the first homicide “of this kind” to occur in 28 years.

Charges have not yet been announced against Espinoza. Amato said the charges could be filed Tuesday by Wisconsin authorities.

Right Menu Icon