Man sentenced for 2010 Bucktown baseball bat attack - FOX 32 News Chicago

Man sentenced for 2010 Bucktown baseball bat attack

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Heriberto Viramontes / photo from Cook County Sheriff's office Heriberto Viramontes / photo from Cook County Sheriff's office
Natasha McShane Natasha McShane
Viramontes' sister and mother Viramontes' sister and mother
Sheila McShane in pink; Stacy Jurich in beige top Sheila McShane in pink; Stacy Jurich in beige top
Anita Alvarez Anita Alvarez
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A judge has sentenced a man to prison who used a Rawlings baseball bat to beat a Northern Ireland exchange student and another university student in 2010 as they walked home under a Chicago viaduct.

At Thursday's sentencing in a Cook County courtroom, 34-year-old Heriberto Viramontes was sentenced to 90 years in prison and convicted on all charges for the vicious beating and robbery of Stacy Jurich and Natasha McShane in the early morning hours of April 23, 2010.

“Thank you for the city of Chicago for being so supportive, and it's still a beautiful place for us to live…very excited about the outcome today, and I'm happy he can't hurt anybody again,” said Jurich.

Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso said Viramontes was motivated by hatred and greed, and the “only sin” that the two young women committed was believing they could walk a few blocks safely in the city of Chicago, the Sun-Times is reporting.

Natasha's mother, Sheila McShane, testified that her daughter, who was left unable to speak or walk after the attack, was sentenced to a life of “pain, misery and unfulfillment.”

“We are pleased with the sentence, it provides us with some sense of justice for Natasha and Stacy,” said Sheila.

Natasha receives 24-hour care from a team of 10 people and — four years after the beating — can now walk in the house without a wheelchair and “string three or four words” together. She said she hopes that her daughter can regain some independence.

Her daughter’s friends come over, but “she’s not the girl they knew,” Sheila said.

A “communication book” lets Natasha point to pictures to communicate — the first page is a picture of her mother — and she used it get popcorn and a Coke when she went to the movies recently, Sheila said.

“Why Natasha? Why us?” she said.

Through tears, Jurich on Thursday testified that Viramontes “tried to murder my friend . . . my life, my dreams were altered by this man.”

Jurich said that she will always taste the blood that she had in her mouth when her skull was crushed in the attack, saying she went from smiling to being on her knees, dripping in blood.

“I lost my independence,” she said.

After the judge passed sentence, Jurich and Sheila hugged.

Viramontes' sister, though, said, "My mom just wants to go home.”

Natasha — who prosecutors said Viramontes turned “into a ghost” — remained in Northern Ireland but her family flew into Chicago so they could face Viramontes before he was sent to prison.

For his part, Viramontes spoke to the judge, asking for mercy and acknowledging he could never understand the pain he caused.

Prosecutors had asked Viramontes be sentenced to between 24 and 120 years, while defense attorneys asked for a sentence of between 12 and 60 years.

Viramontes’ former girlfriend and getaway driver in the crime was sentenced to 22 years in prison last fall after she pleaded guilty to her role in the infamous attack.

Marcy Cruz, now 29, had testified against Viramontes in exchange for the sentence in a plea agreement she made with Cook County prosecutors.

When she took the stand, Cruz recounted how she had sex with Viramontes in her van before they ended up in Bucktown and he expressed a desire to rob someone.

“I don’t want you to be involved in what I’m about to do,” the former exotic dancer and mother of two said Viramontes told her before he grabbed a bat from the backseat of the van and disappeared.

Cruz said she smoked some marijuana and listened to one song on the radio before Viramontes returned with two purses.

He then commanded that she “drive” and admitted he did some “bogus s---,” Cruz said.

Viramontes also told Cruz the women’s whose purses he stole were “really pretty.”

Cruz said the pair later divvied up the contents of the purses — she took some Dior perfume and foundation spray.

“Chicago is a lot safer with Mr. Viramontes put away for long period of time,” said Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s Attorney.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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