Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Natasha McShane suspect's ID found in van linked to attack, court hears

Natasha McShane now requires round-the-clock care

A wallet containing Heriberto Viramontes' state identification was found in the back of a van detectives believed was linked to the beatings of Co Armagh student Natasha McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich, a Chicago court has heard.

Natasha was left severely disabled after suffering serious head injuries in the attack and now requires round-the-clock care.

Her friend Stacy recoverd and has given evidence in the trial of a man and woman accused of their attempted murder and robbery.

Viramontes (34) is charged with two counts of attempted murder and 23 other charges, from misuse of a credit card to aggravated battery.

His co-defendant, Marcy Cruz, has pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted murder and agreed to a 22-year prison sentence.

The area commander of detectives, who personally led the investigation in to the beatings in the Bucktown area of the city, told the court that a baseball bat with grey duct tape was found near the scene of the assault.

Detectives had traced mobile phone records to an apartment block and were also working on descriptions of suspects – a male and female, both light-skinned Hispanics – the Cook County Criminal court heard.

The calls were made from Stacy's mobile and were linked to a Marcy Cruz.

This was just three days after the attack, Commander Salemme said.

Cruz was stopped and arrested as she stepped into a grey Chevy van parked outside the apartment block.

Inside were the ID and baseball bat, the weapon allegedly used to smash the skulls of Stacy and Natasha.

Late that same day, April 26, 2010, detectives led by Salemme went to Viramontes' address and arrested him.

Clothes were also taken away for examination.

The trial began on Wednesday, with Stacy first to take the stand.

Natasha's mother then gave testimony, telling the jury her now severely disabled daughter's, and the family's, life has changed utterly since the attack.

The key witness will be Marcy Cruz, who will testify she drove the van and that Viramontes was in the passenger seat.

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