Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

We rifled Natasha McShane's purse after attack, says stripper giving evidence against former lover accused of trying to kill Northern Irish student in Chicago

Heriberto Viramontes is accused of the vicious baseball bat attack on Natasha McShane in Chicago
Heriberto Viramontes is accused of the vicious baseball bat attack on Natasha McShane in Chicago
Liam McShane with his daughter Natasha
Liam McShane with his daughter Natasha
Liam and Sheila McShane, the parents of Natasha
Liam and Sheila McShane, the parents of Natasha

A stripper giving evidence against her former lover – who is accused of trying to kill a Northern Irish student in Chicago – has told a court how he handed her purses three minutes after he jumped out of her van with a baseball bat.

Marcy Cruz has already pleaded guilty to her role in the attack that left Co Armagh woman Natasha McShane brain-damaged.

Yesterday, the 28-year-old mother-of-two took the stand to testify that her former lover Heriberto Viramontes was the man who beat and robbed Natasha McShane and her friend.

Cruz said she sat in her van smoking marijuana after Viramontes grabbed the bat and leapt from the vehicle after spotting some "white hoes" on the street.

Cruz said she listened to a song on the van radio, and Viramontes was back in three minutes.

She told Cook County Criminal Court that as they sat in a parked van rifling through two purses, Viramontes said: "The girls were really pretty. I did some bogus s***."

Cruz believed Viramontes was saying he robbed them.

Cruz is a co-defendant in the case but agreed a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to two counts of attempted murder.

With time served and time off, she will spend the next 16 years in a state penitentiary.

Prosecutor John Maher led Cruz through the night of April 22 into the early hours of April 23, 2010.

As Natasha and her friend Stacy Jurich were enjoying a night out in Bucktown, Cruz was also socialising, with a fellow stripper called Honey at a "knock down bar", a shebeen.

Her two children, now aged seven and four, were being looked after by her boyfriend, Jose Espinoza.

However, Cruz had been sexually involved with Viramontes since early April and the couple had spent almost every day together, she told the court.

Viramontes arrived at the bar and after a couple of drinks, they left in Cruz's Chevy mini van, with Viramontes driving. A short distance away, Viramontes parked and they had sex in the van.

Afterwards the couple started driving towards Bucktown, a busy neighbourhood full of bars and restaurants. There were lots of people on the streets, Cruz said.

"He tells me, 'Look at all these white hoes', that he wanted to rob them," Cruz told the court.

Viramontes parked down a side street, near Damen Avenue, the street where the two young women were attacked

Cruz said Viramontes grabbed the bat and jumped out of the van.

As he did so, Cruz said, he told her: "I don't want you to be involved in anything I do."

When Viramontes returned in about three minutes, Viramontes shouted "Drive off," said Cruz.

They drove down Milwaukee Avenue, a major road, then down an alleyway, parking under an elevated railway track.

It was here they went through the two purses Cruz said Viramontes had with him.

After an unsuccessful attempt to use stolen cards at a petrol station, their car broke down and they got a jump start from a man and drove to a house in the city.

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

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