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: 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.

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.

Breaking: Police investigating report of armed robbery in northwest DeKalb

DeKALB – Police are investigating a report of an armed robbery just before 2 a.m. Friday in the 900 block of Spiros Court, according to a post on the Northern Illinois University Police Facebook page.

According to the post, two dark-skinned males – one about 6-foot-2 wearing gray pants and a gray hooded sweatshirt, and the other about 5-foot-9 – robbed the victim and then ran away to the west.

Anyone with any information should call NIU police at 815-753-1212, or 815-753-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Police investigate report of armed robbery in DeKalb

DeKALB – Police are investigating a report of an armed robbery that occurred about 2 a.m. Friday in the 900 block of Spiros Court, according to a post on the Northern Illinois University police Facebook page.

According to the post, two dark-skinned males – one about 6-foot-2 wearing gray pants and a gray hooded sweatshirt, and the other about 5-foot-9 – robbed the victim and then ran away to the west.

Anyone with any information should call NIU police at 815-753-1212, or 815-753-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Former Hinckley police chief charged with eavesdropping, misconduct

HINCKLEY – Former Hinckley Police Chief Kimberly S. Everhart has been charged with eavesdropping and official misconduct after Illinois State Police say she illegally recorded a conversation with the village president in 2017.

DeKalb County court records show that on June 21, 2017, Everhart, 51, of the 500 block of Creek Road in Plano, used an eavesdropping device to record a conversation with Village President Nancy Nelson without Nelson’s consent.

A conviction for eavesdropping is typically punishable by one to three years in prison. Official misconduct can carry a sentence of two to five years in prison.

DeKalb County Judge William Brady signed a warrant Tuesday for Everhart’s arrest, and it carries a bond of $5,000. She was arrested on the warrant Tuesday in Kendall County, posted $500 bail and was released about 3:30 p.m., according to Kendall County jail staff. She’s due in DeKalb County court at 9 a.m. March 27.

Nelson won election over fellow write-in candidate Marci Ramsey by 22 votes in 2017. Everhart was appointed before Nelson took office, and became the first female police officer for the village. She was fired in late 2018, and former Chief Gregg Waitkus, who served as Hinckley chief from 2012 to 2015, was appointed interim chief.

“[Waitkus] will be assisting the village of Hinckley in searching for a replacement chief, and will be in that position until a new candidate can be located, interviewed and processed,” Village Board Trustee Chuck Riforgiate said in December.

Everhart was only the second woman to serve as chief in DeKalb County, after Berna Popenhagen, who retired as Kingston’s chief of police in 2009.

Village Board Trustee MIke Constant declined to comment, and Nelson and other trustees did not return requests for comment.

– Daily Chronicle reporter Kelsey Rettke contributed to this report

Genoa's Carrie Jones, accused of stealing rifle, cat, free on bail

SYCAMORE – A 38-year-old Genoa woman who was arrested walking near downtown Genoa with a stolen rifle and a stolen cat has posted bail and is out of jail, according to court records.

Carrie A. Jones, of the 400 block of West Main Street, is charged with residential burglary, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, criminal damage to property and unlawful possession of a firearm without a Firearm Owner’s Identification card. If convicted of the most serious charge, burglary, she could be sentenced to four to 15 years in prison.

DeKalb County Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert agreed March 12 to reduce Jones’ bond from $50,000 to $4,000 – provided Jones immediately report to probation and go on electronic home monitoring. A man posted the $400 the day bond was reduced, court records show.

Genoa Police Chief Robert Smith has said that about 7 a.m. Feb. 25, Jones was walking east on Main Street near Washington Street, carrying a cat, rifle and knife she’d stolen from a house in the 500 block of West First Street. She’s been forbidden to go back to the house or have contact with anyone who lives there.

Jones is due back in court at 9 a.m. April 5.

Genoa woman accused of stealing rifle, cat free on bail

SYCAMORE – The 38-year-old Genoa woman accused of walking near downtown with a stolen rifle and cat as the sun was still rising is free on bond, according to court records.

Carrie A. Jones, of the 400 block of West Main Street, is charged with residential burglary, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, criminal damage to property and unlawful possession of a firearm without a Firearm Owner's Identification card. If convicted of the most serious charge, burglary, she could be sentenced to four to 15 years in prison.

DeKalb County Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert agreed March 12 to reduce Jones' bond from $50,000 to $4,000 – provided Jones immediately report to probation and go on electronic home monitoring. A man posted the $400 the day bond was reduced, court records show.

Genoa Police Chief Robert Smith has said that about 7 a.m. Feb. 25, Jones was walking east on Main Street near Washington Street, carrying a cat, rifle and knife she’d stolen from a house in the 500 block of West First Street. She's been forbidden to go back to the house or have contact with anyone who lives there.

Jones is due back in court at 9 a.m. April 5.

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