A trial date for Heriberto Viramontes and Marcy Cruz, charged with the attack of County Armagh native Natasha McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich, has been set for September 9.
The violent attack, which left McShane with brain injuries and in a wheelchair, took place three years ago on April 23 2010, in Bucktown, Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reported on Monday that a trial date for this vicious assault with a baseball bat has finally been scheduled.
The prosecution said Cruz (28) waited in the van while Viramontes (34) allegedly used a baseball bat to beat McShane and her friend front behind. The young friends were heading home after a night of celebration after McShane had had her internship in Chicago extended.
The 23-year-old Irish exchange student was left in a coma, with brain swelling.
Now, three years on, McShane is at home in Silverbridge, County Armagh, living with her family. Her father Liam has mixed emotions about court case. He said, "I know it will bring back memories that I don't want to remember."
It's going to have to come someday, isn't it? It'll be good to have it over and done with."
When McShane returned to Ireland in July 2010 she had made improvements and was beginning to walk, talk, and feed herself. However, McShane contracted an infection during her hospital stay in Northern Ireland when she was having part of her skull replaced. This infection brought on seizures and she took a turn for the worse.
She is now cared for full time by her family in Armagh.
Her father told the Chicago Tribune, “I’d love to tell you she’s doing a lot more things. Just hopefully, there’s no more setbacks.”
In the past few months her parent says they’ve heard her whisper “yes” and “no” but Liam added, “You can see her taking things in. But it is hard to know how much she understands.”
Her grandmother Bernadette McShane spoke about the frustration of the last three years. She said, “It’s very, very disheartening to see the way she’s been left after three years. What’s is more disheartening is the way the legal system is dragging its heels in bring the case to closure.”
She continued, “It’s her who has been left with a life sentence. She was a great girl, very friendly, awful nice to people.
“She was my eldest grandchild, and she worked so hard to do so well at school. It’s just a shame that everything has been cut so short.”
Despite this terrible situation, Liam says his daughter rarely sheds a tear. He said, “It’s only the very odd occasion that you see tears. When I see that, I just go over her and say, “You’re okay. You’re okay’. I’ll say ‘You will get better.’ I’ll constantly tell her she will get better.”
A local bar manager, Brian Burrow, has maintained contact with the other victim, Stacy Jurich. Although Jurich was also beaten, she managed to wave down a cab who alerted the authorities.
Burrow said that three years on Jurich "wants to move on, talk about happier things."
Viramontes and Cruz both face 25 felony charges including robbery, aggravated battery, and attempted murder.
CBS Chicago reports that, “The alleged assailants had come to Bucktown with the intention of robbing someone because Viramontes needed quick money and drugs, and Cruz allegedly suggested targeting the 'drunk a**holes coming out of the bar,' prosecutors said after the defendants were charged.”
Cruz’s mother, Adelaida Perez (54) said that while she’s nervous she will “accept whatever punishment is given" by the courts.
Perez added, "I feel bad because I am a mother and I put myself in those girls' moms' shoes. They are suffering, this is terrible. I do not agree with what happened...I wish I could wake up out of this nightmare."
In court on Monday, Viramonte blew kisses to his family in the gallery. Cruz looked “small and frail” reported the Tribune.
Her father Edwin Cruz (55) said, “I wish the best for Natasha and Stacy. They were innocent victims.”
He said Cruz is "remorseful. She cries and says, 'Mom and Dad, I'm sorry. I should have listened to you.' It's too late now.”
Here’s the CLTV, local news report: