Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Natasha McShane's attacker Heriberto Viramontes faces 120 years in jail after guilty verdict in Chicago

Heriberto Viramontes was found guilty of trying to murder Northern Irish student Natasha McShane in Chicago
Heriberto Viramontes was found guilty of trying to murder Northern Irish student Natasha McShane in Chicago
Liam and Sheila McShane, the parents of Natasha
Liam and Sheila McShane, the parents of Natasha
Natasha McShane now requires  round-the-clock care
Natasha McShane now requires round-the-clock care

Relief and a sense of justice were the overwhelming emotions felt by the McShane family after Heriberto Viramontes was found guilty of battering to near death their daughter and sister.

But brother Conor McShane, in a statement on behalf of the family, said the crime three and a half years ago brought "great sadness and sorrow to our home."

 

Viramontes,was last night found guilty of the attempted murders of McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich, beaten and robbed as they returned home from a night out in the Bucktown neighbourhood of Chicago in April 2010.

 

The jury also found the 34 year old guilty on six charges of aggravated battery and two of armed robbery, a total of ten, whittled down from the original 25.

 

He faces a maximum 120 years in prison when sentenced, likely later this year.

 

Members of the McShane family, many of whom were in court for the week long trial, hugged each other and cried after the verdict was read out, just before 6pm local time, after some three and a half hours deliberating.

 

Conor McShane said: "The verdict provides us with a sense of justice, provides us with a sense of great relief.

 

"This crime changed her life forever and has had a devastating impact on our entire family."

 

It's a "daily struggle", the crime has "ruined" Natasha's life and brought "great sadness and sorrow to our home."

 

Natasha McShane, 27, remains severely, unable to walk without support and barely able to talk. She suffered a severe brain injury.

 

McShane said Stacy Jurich - who ran yelling and screaming into the street to quickly raise the alarm as Natasha lay bleeding and battered on the road - was praised for her bravery.

 

Natasha would not be alive today had it not been for Stacy, Conor McShane said.

 

He also thanked the prosecutors and the people of Chicago for their overwhelming "support and generosity."

 

Viramontes' family, two sisters, also spoke, in anger that they were not given any notice the verdicts were due to be delivered. They were not in court when the verdicts were read out.

 

Stacy Jurich, now 27, said she is relieved Viramontes will not walk the streets again.

 

As she spoke of her "best friend" Natasha, Stacy broke down in tears.

 

" i just wanted to say this has been hard over the last three years. This has been the hardest time of my entire life, a struggle for me and what happened to my best friend Natasha," Stacy said.

 

Chicago's lead prosecutor Anita Alvarez, Cook County State's Attorney, said her office was "pleased and relieved" the jury came to the conclusion Viramontes was guilty and will be held accountable for the "brutal and senseless" beating.

 

"We live in a beautiful city and it's a shame someone like Natasha McSHane, here to continue her schooling, visiting from Ireland, was not able to enjoy our city.

 

"Instead of a welcoming she was confronted with a baseball bat."

 

She thanked the McShane family, which as "endured so much." .

 

The daughter who returned home from Chicago will never be the same again, Alvarez said.

 

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