Prosecutors: Bucktown bat beating suspect said in phone call, ‘I probably hit her once’
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter October 22, 2013 1:54PM
Heriberto Viramontes / photo from Cook County Sheriff's office
Updated: November 24, 2013 6:28AM
The man on the other end of the phone told Heriberto Viramontes he was being made out to be a “monster.”
In the months after the brutal Bucktown neigborhood attack on Natasha McShane and Stacy Jurich, Viramontes was staring at attempted first-degree murder charges and languishing at the Cook County jail.
Officials there monitored and recorded five phone calls authorities say he placed in 2010 — portions of which prosecutors played for the jury at his trial Tuesday evening.
And after the man told Viramontes in one of those phone calls the charges against him made him look like a “monster,” Viramontes allegedly told him he’d been high.
“I did some stupid sh--,” Viramontes is heard saying on the phone.
Then, he allegedly added: “I probably hit her once.”
Prosecutors contend Viramontes attacked Jurich and McShane, an exchange student from Northern Ireland, with a wooden Rawlings baseball bat in the early morning hours of April 23, 2010.
The attack, in a viaduct in the 1800 block of North Damen, left McShane unable to speak and walk. Viramontes, 34, is also charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery.
But in the phone calls played for the jury, Viramontes complained mostly about the attempted murder charge.
He said he didn’t mean to kill anyone.
“My goal was to get money to help Marcy,” Viramontes was heard saying in an apparent reference to Marcy Cruz, the getaway driver in the attack who testified against Viramontes earlier this week.
Though she didn’t witness the attack, Cruz said Viramontes told her he did some “bogus sh--” and had planned to rob someone in Bucktown that night.
Cruz has given varying versions of the events to police and prosecutors, and defense attorneys have tried to undermine her credibility.
Nonetheless, in another phone call, Viramontes seemed worried about what she might say. He could be heard telling someone he wrote a letter to “Marcy” to get another statement from her to use in court.
“She’s the only thing f---ing holding me down,” Viramontes allegedly said.
Viramontes also asked on the calls about the conditions of the two women and could be heard crying on one of the recordings while another woman mentioned Jurich had been released from a hospital.
The calls were all allegedly placed in 2010 — on May 9, May 20, June 5 and Nov. 10.
Prosecutors played the tapes as they prepared to rest their case against Viramontes on Wednesday.
Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso told jurors they can expect to begin deliberations Thursday.
Jurors Tuesday also heard from a latent fingerprint examiner who said prints found on an H&M shopping bag matched Viramontes.’
Jurich testified that McShane had an H&M bag with her when the women met up for drinks and dancing the night of the attack.
Viramontes’ former girlfriend, Kira Lundgren, also testified Tuesday. In doing so, the 25-year-old Plainfield mother of two supported portions of Cruz’s testimony.
Lundgren said she went to bed April 22, 2010 — when she believed she was pregnant with Viramontes’ child — only to be woken up by Viramontes who took her in a van with Cruz from her apartment to a gas station.
She said Viramontes seemed agitated and was talking emphatically with his hands to another customer there.
Lundgren also said she saw Viramontes, Cruz and Cruz’s boyfriend huddled around a newspaper the day after the attack, but she couldn’t tell what they were reading.
“They would not let me see it,” Lundgren said.
In exchange for her testimony, prosecutors let Lundgren plead guilty to a misdemeanor after she was arrested in June 2011 and charged with a felony for smuggling marijuana to Viramontes in Cook County jail.
She received two years probation.