Ex-husband pleads guilty in brutal murder of DeKalb County Assistant State’s Attorney Stacia Hollinshead

Ulisses Medina Espinosa, who police said shot and killed his ex-wife, Stacia Hollinshead, a DeKalb County prosecutor, is being held in a Wisconcin jail on $2 million bond

JUNEAU, Wisc. — A 33-year-old Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, man pleaded guilty to first degree homicide Tuesday in the slaying of his ex-wife Stacia Hollinshead, a DeKalb County prosecutor who he shot 15 times in the head and back in front of their 5-year-old daughter in March 2019.

Ulisses Medina Espinosa entered his plea after agreeing to the terms of a plea agreement with prosecution, according to a report from Beaver Dam’s Daily Citizen.

Medina Espinosa was charged in March 2019 with the shooting death of Hollinshead, of Sycamore, who worked as an assistant state’s attorney in the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s office. He was placed in custody with a $2 million bond. Hollinshead had sought legal protection against him prior to her death, according to DeKalb County court records.

The shooting took place at a Third Street residence in Beaver Dam when Hollinshead, 30, an 11-year Army veteran and a Northern Illinois University law school graduate, had driven to Wisconsin that day with her 5-year-old daughter so that the girl could visit her grandparents – Medina Espinosa’s parents. Hollinshead was shot 15 times while the girl was in a nearby room after Medina Espinosa entered the home. After the shooting, court records show Medina Espinosa knelt by his daughter and told her “the judge won’t hurt us anymore.”

Medina Espinosa will get a life sentence but under the terms of the plea agreement may be eligible for parole and community supervision. The prosecution agrees to argue for no more than 50 years in prison until he is eligible for parole and the defense no less than 30 years in prison until he is eligible for parole during sentencing. Dodge County, Wisconsin, Judge Joseph Sciascia, who is presiding over the case, can follow the recommendations, but may also use facts in the case to sentence outside of the recommendations.

Medina Espinosa appeared Tuesday with his attorneys, Victor Arellano and Douglas Phebus.

Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg made an offer and Phebus said he, along with Arellano, discussed the offer at length with Medina Espinosa which led to a counteroffer to Klomberg, who declined the offer.

On Friday, Medina Espinosa decided to accept the original offer prior to the motion hearing that had been scheduled in his case Tuesday.

Medina Espinosa was scheduled for a three-week trial beginning on Jan 25 prior to entering into the agreement.

“The investigators in this matter did a fantastic job putting together a solid case for prosecution,” Klomberg said in a press release. “However, proving the case would require that the very young child of the victim would have to testify and relive that day when her life was forever changed. This agreement was the result of extensive consultation with the family of the victim, the police and the entire prosecution staff of our office. It ensures that the defendant will be convicted and imprisoned for most if not all of his life, while also shielding this innocent child from reliving the horrors of that day in open court.”

Hollinshead was a native of Effingham, Illinois. She graduated from Northern Illinois University College of Law in May 2018 after being a U.S. Army intelligence analyst for 11 years. Hollinshead had filed for divorce from Medina Espinosa in 2016 and filed for a protective order against him the same year.

A presentencing investigation will be done prior to Medina Espinosa’s sentencing, which is scheduled on April 5 at 9 a.m.

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