Natasha McShane’s mother, Sheila, has testified during the first days of the trial for Heriberto Viramontes, charged with 25 felonies, including attempted murder. It is alleged that the accused beat McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich with a baseball bat, in Chicago, in April 2010.
Sheila told the court that her daughter was left unable to walk or speak more than a few words. She said her daughter was once a good sketch artist but now only scribbles. She is unable to hold a conversation and suffered from infections and seizures.
McShane’s brother and sister were also present at Court 604, of the Cook County Criminal Courts building, for the first day of the trial.
Stacy Jurich, a Chicago native who was attacked with a baseball bat alongside Natasha McShane, broke down frequently while testifying.
Jurich took the stand and spoke publically for the first time about the April 2010 attack, which left the County Armagh woman, McShane, unable to walk or speak. Viramontes (34) has been charged with 25 felony counts, including armed robbery and attempted murder.
The first witness to take the stand during the trial, Jurich, now 27, described the beating and viewed photos of the crime scene. She broke down in tears frequently.
"I heard my head being hit and felt excruciating pain and sort of lost my equilibrium and just had this taste in my mouth almost like a battery or metallic flavor,” Jurich testified, the Chicago Tribune reports.
She continued "I saw Natasha being hit on the head."
An assistant state's attorney asked "Did you see what she was being struck with? Jurich responded "A bat."
Jurich tearfully described seeing her friend afterward. "She was not moving on the ground. The blood started coming out of her head. I took my jacket and supported her head as much as I could. And I ran for help."
Jurich said she struggled with her attacker as he tried to take her purse. The attacker fled, with her purse, south on Damen Ave, she told the court.
On Wednesday morning the court and the jurors heard from the prosecutor. Assistant State’s Attorney Margaret Ogarek told the court about the two very different sides to Chicago the “beacon” of “shimmering lights” and the dark “underbelly” which preys on the unsuspecting.
McShane and Jurich were celebrating the Irish student’s success in acquiring an extension to her internship in Chicago.
Ogarek said “They were completely unaware of what the defendant was about to do to them.”
The lawyer said evidence against Viramontes includes his fingerprints on McShane’s bag, which was found at a gas station.
Viramontes’ lawyer, Assistant Public Defender David Dunne, told jurors his client was not behind this brutal attack.
In his opening statement he said “This is an absolute tragedy.
“What happened to Ms. McShane and Ms. Jurich should never happen anywhere, much less our own city.”
“The right conclusion is not to convict an innocent man.”
The trial continues. It is expect to last until Friday, October 25, 2013.