Heriberto Viramontes was sentenced 90 years behind bars after brutal beating of an Irish exchange student. Last October this Chicago man, now 37-years-old, was found guilty of robbing and beating two young women in April 2010. Viramontes is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery and aggravated battery. Natasha McShane suffered a severe brain injury; she cannot walk without help or talk. Her friend Stacy Jurich was also hurt in the attack.
McShane, an exchange student from Northern Ireland, and Jurich were both students at the University of Illinois at the time the beating occurred. According to Jurich, she and McShane had just finished a night of celebration with dinner, dancing and drinks. They were attacked by Viramontes as they walked under an overpass headed home.
Jurich said they were halfway through the underpass when she heard her head bang. Although she did not lose consciousness she remembers being in extreme pain. All of a sudden she saw Natasha get hit on the head with a bat; she instantly fell down lifelessly onto the sidewalk. As Jurich struggled with Viramontes she was hit with the metal bat again.
Eventually the attacker ran off with all of their belongings. Jurich looked over at her friend and she was still lifeless, lying on the ground with blood gushing out of her head. Although Viramontes was the sole attacker he left the scene of the crime with a woman who was later identified as Marcy Cruz.
Cruz, the attacker’s girlfriend and a former stripper, confessed to driving the getaway vehicle. She also pleaded guilty to two attempted murder charges. Cruz was sentenced, under a plea agreement, to 11 years for each count totaling 22 years in prison.
Jurors were given access to recorded calls from jail in which Viramontes admitted to committing the violent beating. As part of the plea deal, Cruz took the stand saying she was with him the night of the vicious attack. She told the jurors that Viramontes had used a bat which belonged to her children’s father. Cruz said as he was getting out of the van he grabbed the bat with intentions of robbing the two young ladies.
McShane’s mother also took the stand in her daughter’s defense. She said her daughter can no longer walk on her own and they can no longer have “real” conversations because her daughter cannot talk. Natasha, who has returned to Ireland, tries to say words but they do not make any sense. Prosecutors showed a video to the jury confirming McShane’s condition. For more than a year after her attack she was confined to a wheelchair, she recently advanced to a walker. Natasha has a difficult time with the simplest things such as trying to drink a cup of water.
The Cook County jury deliberated about three hours before agreeing to the conviction of Viramontes. After hearing the verdict, Jurich cried. She said it is comforting just knowing this person will never walk the streets again.
Heriberto Viramontes was facing 120 years but was sentenced to 90 years behind bars for the brutal beating of an Irish exchange student. Viramontes is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery and the aggravated battery of Natasha McShane and Stacy Jurich in April 2010. Natasha McShane suffered a massive brain injury which stripped her of the ability to talk or walk without help. Her friend Stacy was also hurt in the attack.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)