The picture above is of beautiful 27-year-old Natasha McShane, an exchange student from Northern Ireland who was brutally attacked by a man with a baseball bat in April 2010.
The trial for the man police say attacked her will finally begin in Chicago this week, after months and months of delays.
In the early morning hours of April 23, 2010, Natasha and her friend Stacy Jurich were on their way home from a bar in Bucktown when they were allegedly approached by 34-year-old Heriberto Viramontes. Viramontes beat them with a baseball bat and ran off with their purses. The brutal beating left Natasha with head injuries so severe that she still is unable to walk or speak.
Viramontes faces 25 felony counts, including armed robbery and attempted murder. Jury selection begins on Tuesday, and opening arguments may begin as early as Wednesday.
His alleged accomplice, 28-year-old Marcy Cruz is expected to testify against him. According to police, Cruz waited in a van during the attack, and drove away with him afterwards. She is expected to say that earlier in the night, Viramontes told her that he wanted to commit a robbery. Cruz has agreed to testify in exchange for a reduced sentence of 22 years for her involvement.
Stacy Jurich, the friend who was also attacked that night, will testify about the injuries she received. Although Stacy’s injuries are less severe than Natasha’s, she still suffered cognitive impairments, and is still recovering.
Natasha’s mother will also testify and tell the jury about the extent of Natasha’s injuries. The jury will be shown a video that will show scenes of Natasha trying to walk, stand, and drink from a cup. The judge last week ruled that the video will be admitted into evidence, except for one clip of her trying to put pegs in a pegboard. The judge ruled that it would be too prejudicial, as it’s apparently very heart-wrenching to watch.
Natasha’s family told the Chicago Tribune that aren’t telling her that the trial is starting, because they don’t want it to bring back horrible memories while she’s still trying to recover. Her mother, father, and two siblings will attend, however.
This is one of those crimes that makes me feel embarrassed about being from Chicago. This girl was probably very excited to spend some time here as an exchange student, and then this happens to her. My heart goes out to her, and I hope that if found guilty, Viramontes is never let out of prison again.
I’ll post updates below.
UPDATE: 10/26/13 8:22 AM
Viramontes was found guilty yesterday and faces more than 100 years in prison for the brutal attack. The jury deliberated for four hours.
Viramontes will be back in court November 20.