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Justice is served, McShane’s mom says after guilty verdict

Updated: November 26, 2013 6:24AM



Stacy Jurich hopes the nightmares of being beaten by a baseball bat, and hearing it crack open the head of her best friend, will recede now that the man responsible for wielding the weapon was found guilty in the infamous Bucktown attack.

Heriberto Viramontes faces between six and 120 years in prison for the brutal assault that still gives Jurich pounding headaches and left her friend, Irish exchange student Natasha McShane, unable to walk or speak.

Viramontes ran off with the young women’s purses after he swung a wooden Rawlings bat at the back of the women’s heads in the early morning hours of April 23, 2010.

“There hasn’t been a night that passed in the past three and a half years that I didn’t wake up in a night terror reliving what happened,” said Jurich, who made the sign of the cross before the guilty verdicts were read Thursday evening.

Afterward, Jurich, 27, dabbed her eyes with a tissue and hugged McShane’s mother, Sheila.

Reached later at her River North hotel, Sheila McShane told the Sun-Times, “It’s been a long day.”

When asked if she felt that justice was served, she said, “Yes, absolutely.”

Viramontes, 34, in a dark shirt and vest, maintained a blank expression as he was found guilty of 10 felonies, including two counts of attempted murder. He made eye contact with family members and stuck out his lower lip for a moment before being led from Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso’s courtroom.

“To know that this person can never walk on the street with me again is extremely comforting,” Jurich told reporters in the courthouse lobby.

Natasha McShane and Jurich were headed to McShane’s Bucktown home after a night out celebrating an internship McShane had just landed and a business deal Jurich made at work when Viramontes attacked them under a viaduct in the 1800 block of North Damen Avenue.

The jury deliberated for 31/2 hours Thursday.

The evidence was damning.

Jurors heard tape-recorded phone conversations Viramontes had in jail in which he says he wasn’t trying to kill anyone but “did some stupid s--- ... I probably hit her once ... hit the other b---- once.”

Viramontes’s attorney said the calls were taken out of context and called into question the credibility of Marcy Cruz, a former stripper who waited for Viramontes in a nearby van during the crime.

Cruz agreed to testify against Viramontes in exchange for a 22-year prison sentence.

During closing arguments, Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher held the bat allegedly used in the attack and stared Viramontes down as he announced to jurors: “Behold, Heriberto Viramontes, every parent’s nightmare.”

Maher aired the recorded jailhouse conversations and said, “That call and the other four calls you heard buried that guy right there.”

Viramontes also was convicted of aggravated battery and armed robbery.

The attack was covered closely by media in Northern Island, and a BBC film crew from Belfast was at the courthouse Thursday ready to interrupt broadcasts if a verdict was reached.

Conor McShane issued a statement about his sister that read, “This attack has ruined her life, and it has brought great sadness and great sorrow to our home.”

Contributing: Michael Lansu



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