Guilty verdict in 2010 Bucktown bat beating trial; Heriberto Viramontes guilty on all counts in 2010 attack on Natasha McShane, Stacy Jurich

October 24, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Heriberto Viramontes beat an Irish exchange student so badly she cannot talk and can't walk without help. The other survivor, Stacy Jurich, expressed relief knowing her attacker will be off the streets.

VIDEO: Full comments from Stacy Jurich, prosecutors after verdict
VIDEO: Full comments from Viramontes' sisters, defense after verdict

"There hasn't been a night that's passed in the last three years where I didn't wake up in a night terror reliving what happened. To know that this person can never walk the street with me again is extremely comforting," Jurich said.

Viramontes faces a maximum of 120 years behind bars when he's sentenced.

Natasha McShane suffered a severe brain injury and is now back home in Northern Ireland, unable to speak or walk unassisted. Her family issued a statement. They are pleased with the verdict but say "Natasha's life is a daily struggle. This attack has ruined her life. And it has brought great sadness and sorrow to our home."

"This isn't easy, but I have to fight for Natasha and we all will continue to do so," said Jurich.

Viramontes' family was upset the verdict was read before they got to the courtroom. His sisters say they still believe jurors convicted the wrong man.

Viramontes, 34, was found guilty on ten counts, including: two counts of attempted 1st degree murder; two counts of armed robbery; and six counts of aggravated battery.

Viramontes' defense attorney said he is "devastated" and that they plan to file an appeal.

Jurors reached their decision after only three and a half hours of deliberations. During that time they had three requests: jail house calls made by Viramontes after his arrest, photos of Viramontes' tattoos, and a definition of "permanent disability."

Viramontes did not take the stand during his trial.

Prosecutors: Viramontes "takes what he wants"

"Heriberto Viramontes takes what he wants. Sometimes at the end of a bat," Assistant State's Attorney John Maher said Thursday during closing arguments. "He took Natasha McShane's future. He took joy from her family. He burdened them with a lifetime of caring for her."

McShane, an exchange student from Northern Ireland, suffered a severe head injury in the attack, and is unable to speak or walk on her own. Her family is present for the trial while she is being cared for at home.

Jurich was also beaten during the attack in April 2010. She was the first witness called by prosecutors in Viramontes' trial, and was back in court for closing arguments.

In defense of Viramontes, Chandra Smith, assistant public defender, told the jurors her client was does not match Stacy Jurich's original description of the attacker.

"You can stop this tragedy. Stop this cycle because Mr. Viramontes is not guilty of these charges," she said. "We don't know who did this, but we do know it was not Mr. Viramontes."

Richard Laborador, asst. public defender, took jurors through forensic evidence presented in the trial saying a partial fingerprint on a shopping bag does not identify Viramontes. "The State doesn't have the pieces of the puzzle," he said.

Margaret Ogarek, asst. state's attorney called the parts of the defense's argument "fantasy."

Prosecutors picked up the bat that was allegedly used during the attack several times. No evidence was found on that bat.

The defense built its case around the argument that their client was misidentified and that Jurich, who also suffered a head injury, originally told police that the attacker could have been African American. Viramontes is Hispanic.

During the trial, jurors heard testimony from two of Viramontes' former girlfriends, including Marcy Cruz. Cruz was allegedly with Viramontes the morning of the attack and testified against him for a lighter sentence.

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