Belfast Telegraph

Natasha McShane murder bid accused Heriberto Viramontes refuses to take stand

By John Breslin

The man accused of trying to kill Natasha McShane with a baseball bat during a mugging will not testify, it emerged yesterday

Heriberto Viramontes is on trial in Chicago for the attempted murders of Natasha from Silverbridge, Co Armagh – who was left brain-damaged after the attack in 2010 – and her friend Stacy Jurich.

Viramontes announced his decision on the last day of his trial, and the jury will begin deliberating today following closing arguments. Among the final witnesses was a detective involved in the investigation who interviewed Stacy in hospital two days after the attack.

Detective Robert Carrillo admitted Stacy told him she was attacked by a black man with a silver bat. But she also said it might have been carried out by a male Hispanic. Viramontes is a light-skinned Hispanic.

Another detective, Randy Troche, testified that Stacy told him a black man walked towards the two young women and passed them as the pair made their way towards the viaduct, where the attack happened.

Mr Troche was also tasked with the job of tracking down two black men, believed to have blood on their shirts and stopped in a car near the scene, one of whom is known as Junior. He never managed to find them.

Cook County Criminal Court heard earlier yesterday that two black males with blood on their shirts had been stopped by police searching for suspects in the immediate aftermath of the assault and robbery. The initial description of the attacker, given by Stacy at the scene, was that of a medium-built black man.

A 'flash' alert went out to all units in the Bucktown area where the attack took place and beyond.

Officer Melissa Delpair testified she stopped a vehicle with the two black males inside close to the scene half-an-hour after the attack. She noticed what appeared to be blood on both their shirts.

After taking details and a brief conversation, she let them go. Officer Middleton said she knew at that point, around 4am on April 23, 2010, about the assault and robbery of the two women.

The officer was being questioned by a defence lawyer after the State rested its case against Viramontes (34), who is charged with 23 other charges in addition to two of attempted murder.

Earlier, without the jury present, the defence asked Judge Jorge Alonso to direct a dismissal of the attempted murder charges for lack of evidence, claiming there was no intent to kill. Judge Alonso dismissed the motion, leaving it to the jury to decide.

Belfast Telegraph


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