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Insanity plea entered in Beaver Dam homicide case after attorney claims workplace injury to suspect
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Insanity plea entered in Beaver Dam homicide case after attorney claims workplace injury to suspect

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JUNEAU – The attorney for a man accused of killing his ex-wife at a Beaver Dam residence in March said in court Wednesday that his client may have neurological damage from a workplace accident leading to his plea being changed to not guilty by insanity.

Douglas Phebus asked Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Steven Bauer to delay the trial for Ulisses Medina Espinosa, 32, that was scheduled for mid February.

Medina Espinosa is accused in the shooting death of Stacia Hollinshead and is being held in Dodge County Jail on a $2 million bond.

An autopsy showed Hollinshead suffered 15 gunshot wounds at an indeterminate range. Hollinshead and Medina Espinosa had a daughter, who was 5 at the time of Hollinshead’s death. Hollinshead brought the girl to Medina Espinosa’s parents’ house at 322½ E. Third St. in Beaver Dam on March 23, where the shooting took place.

Victor Arellano and Phebus filed a notice of retainer in the case on Jan. 9.

Phebus appeared by phone and said they received a portion of files from the previous attorneys and wanted to review if chemicals that Medina Espinosa was exposed to during an accident Medina Espinosa was involved with while working at Kraft Heinz in Beaver Dam 10 days before the shooting had caused neurological symptoms that may have led to the shooting.

“The chemical exposure could affect the brain,” Phebus said, during the hearing.

“This was a tragic incident involving one of our Beaver Dam employees outside of work hours,” Kraft Corporate media contact Michael Mullen said in an email. “Given this is now a legal issue, Kraft Heinz has no additional comment.”

Phebus said a neuropsychologist would need to examine Medina Espinosa and the doctor would not be available for the examination until the middle of the time when the trial had previously been scheduled.

“We haven’t got what we need in order to be ready to go,” Phebus said.

Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said the information about the chemical exposure at Kraft Heinz was in the information collected for the trial. They also learned after contacting Kraft that Medina Espinosa had requested to work overtime two days after the incident.

“The report suggests he wasn’t extensively injured,” Klomberg said.

Klomberg objected to the attempt to delay the trial.

“It’s very rare when a judge doesn’t grant a continuation in a serious case,” Bauer said.

Bauer granted the trial to be moved and for the not guilty by insanity plea to be entered. The new trial date is from June 1 to June 5.

Medina Espinosa and Hollinshead divorced in 2016 and Hollinshead was granted a protective order against Medina Espinosa the same year. Hollinshead had full custody of the girl and Medina Espinosa had lost his parental rights, according to court records. The DeKalb (Illinois) Daily Chronicle reported that those rights had been restored with specific conditions set for visitation.

According to the criminal complaint, Medina Espinosa’s mother told police Hollinshead “felt that she had a moral obligation” to allow the child to see her grandparents. Medina Espinosa’s mother and Hollinshead exchanged text messages to set up the March 23 visit.

Hollinshead arrived at the home between 2:15 and 2:30 p.m.

A short while later, Medina Espinosa arrived at the home with gifts for the girl, according to the complaint. The girl ran up to Medina Espinosa and his mother returned to the kitchen, where Hollinshead had remained. Medina Espinosa’s mother told police that she heard several gunshots coming from behind her and then saw Medina Espinosa toss a gun in the sink.

Hollinshead was a DeKalb County assistant state’s attorney since November and a native of Effingham, Illinois. She graduated from the Northern Illinois University College of Law in May 2018 after being a U.S. Army intelligence analyst for 11 years.

Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.

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