On May 22, a Chicago man, Heriberto Viramontes, was sentenced to 90 years in prison for violently attacking two women with a baseball bat.
Late last year, a jury found Viramontes guilty on all counts related to the brutal attack of Natasha McShane, an exchange student from Northern Ireland, and her friend Stacy Jurich as they headed home after a night on the town in the Bucktown neighborhood in April 2010.
During the two-week trial last year, the jury requested transcripts of recordings the prosecution presented of calls Viramontes made from Cook County Jail after he was arrested in 2010. The recordings have Viramontes admitting to attacking the two women, but saying that his goal was to rob them so he could get money to get high, not kill them.
Marcy Cruz, 28, told the court that she was in the getaway vehicle waiting for her then-boyfriend Viramontes the night he was accused of violently beating and robbing the two women.
The violent attack left McShane with severe brain damage that requires 24-hour care, according to her mother. She now lives with her family in a rural community in Northern Ireland. McShane was 23 at the time of the attack and a graduate student from Northern Ireland studying in Chicago.
“I heard my head being hit and felt excruciating pain,” said Jurich during the trial. “I saw Natasha being hit on the head. She lifelessly fell on the sidewalk; blood started coming out of her head.”
After the attack, Jurich was eventually able to return to work but testified that she still suffers from severe headaches that have reduced her vision. Because of this, she chooses not to drive even though legally she can.
Previously, Cruz pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in July. She agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for reduced charges.
Later in the day, Chicago Police Det. James Fergus told the court that police obtained video of Viramontes and Cruz allegedly using the stolen credit cards from the two women’s purses at a BP gas station at Augusta and Western. He also said the authorities recovered McShane’s passport and a few of the women’s other stolen items from the gas station’s dumpster the day after the attack.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said she was satisfied with the sentence issued on Viramontes, a man she described as “the personification of evil.”
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