The man and woman who allegedly attacked Co. Armagh woman Natasha McShane and her friend after a night out have been charged with attempted murder.
Heriberto Viramontes, 31, and Marcy Cruz, 25, were charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated unlawful restraint and other charges in the 25-count indictment on May 19.
Viramontes and Cruz had previously been charged with aggravated battery and armed robbery for the incident when Viramontes brutally beat 23-year-old McShane and her friend, Stacey Jurich, with a baseball bat on April 23 during a robbery in the Bucktown District.
Police say that Viramontes needed money to fund his drug habit and went to Bucktown area -- normally a quiet incident free neighborhood -- with the intent to rob someone for cash. He happened across McShane and Jurich, who were coming home from a night out and violently beaten within an inch of their lives.
Cruz apparently drove the van they were traveling in and waited inside as Viramontes viciously attacked McShane, and Jurich with the baseball bat.
The pair drove off after the robbery in which they stole money and other valuables and left the girls for dead at the side of the road. Jurich was just about conscious enough to hail a passing cab.
Police used records from stolen cell phones and credit cards to track down the attackers.
McShane, from Silverbridge, Co. Armagh, was moved to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago after spending two weeks in a drug induced coma. Although conscious, she still has limited brain activity.
Her family, including her parents, are by her side.
Jurich is now out of hospital, albeit attending rehabilitation, and is helping with fundraising efforts on behalf of McShane in Chicago.
McShane has been studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. She was informed earlier that week that she could extend her stay in the U.S. through an internship program.
A benefit for McShane is being held on June 4 at the Local 399 operating engineers' event hall, 2260 S. Grove Street in Chicago.
The people responsible for Helpnatasha.net, a coalition of Chicago's Irish community, have declared June 13 “Natasha Day.”
The group is putting on two huge fundraisers, one on the North Side of Chicago at the Irish American Heritage Center, and the other in the south suburbs at Gaelic Park. All proceeds will go to the McShane family to help pay for Natasha's expected medical expenses.
A Natasha McShane Care Account has been set up at the North Bank in Chicago and two websites, www.helpnatasha.net and www.mcshanefund.com, has also been created to help raise money.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore