Heriberto Viramontes has been found guilty on all counts in the April 2010 savage baseball bat attack on Irish woman Natasha McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich. The attack left McShane with severe brain damage.
The two women were heading home in Chicago’s Bucktown district after a night celebrating a promotion for Jurich. Viramontes attacked them from behind with a baseball bat and stole their wallets.
The verdict means Viramontes could now face up to 120 years in prison. The jury deliberated for only three hours on the attempted murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault charges.
The jury asked to hear Viramontes’ recorded prison phone calls in which he admitted the assault to his girlfriend and to get another look at the photos of his tattoos, which could be made out from closed circuit cameras at a gas station where he used McShane’s credit card.
“Behold Heriberto Viramontes, every parent's nightmare”, prosecuting attorney John Maher stated during closing arguments.
“Whatever happened to the days of polite society when an armed robber would have said "Give me all of your stuff?"' Maher said holding the baseball bat Viramontes used “Do you think those two girls would have put up a fight?”
“Heriberto Viramontes takes what he wants. Sometimes at the end of a bat,” he said.
“He took Natasha McShane's future. He took joy from her family. He burdened them with a lifetime of caring for her.”
McShane's family in Northern Ireland issued a statement after midnight their time when the news of the guilty verdict reached them.
“We’re just glad it’s over and Natasha can start building her life again,” her aunt Caroline McShane told the Chicago Tribune.
“All of the evidence is stacked against him. I would expect anyone to find him guilty of everything. He deserves whatever sentence he gets,” she continued.
Natasha's brother Conor issued a statement through Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.
“I want to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who has helped us in this long struggle, we are please and relieved by the verdict. It provides us with a sense of great relief,” he wrote.
“This crime against Natasha has changed her life forever and has had a devastating impact on our entire family. Natasha's life is a daily struggle and this attack has ruined her life,”Conor writes.
“And it has brought great sadness and sorrow to our home.
“We have many people to thank today, but the first person that we want to thank is Stacy.”
Stacy Jurich also attacked and left badly injured regained consciousness for enough time on that night in April 2010 to flag down a car and raise the alarm. She also testified in court against Heriberto Viramontes.
McShane is now undergoing constant rehab, while living at home with her family in Silverbridge, County Armagh. She is unable to walk or hold a conversation. Her family had made the decision not to tell her about the trial.
Here's the BBC report on the verdict: