Court hears harrowing evidence of Natasha attack

October 21, 2013

The trial of a man accused of the attempted murder of Silverbridge student Natasha McShane, has heard harrowing evidence of how the horrific injuries she sustained in the attack, more than three years ago, have left her with limited ability to walk or speak.

Heriberto Viramontes (34) is accused of attacking Natasha and her friend Stacy Jurich on their way home from a night out in Chicago in April 2010.  The pair were walking under a viaduct when a man emerged from the shadows and attacked them with a baseball bat.

Natasha, a 23-year-old student at the University of Illinois at the time, sustained extensive head injuries and was left fighting for her life.

Her parents, Sheila and Liam, brother Conor and sister Karla were present in Cook County Criminal Court when the trial of Viramontes opened on Wednesday.

In the opening few days, the court heard evidence from Ms Jurich and from Natasha’s mother, Sheila.

Ms Jurich described the moment when she saw her friend being struck with the bat before she too was attacked: “She went down immediately, her face just fell into the sidewalk.  She was not moving on the ground. The blood started coming out of her head.

“I heard my head being hit and I felt excruciating pain,” Ms Jurich said. “The back of my skull was cracked open.”

Taking the stand, Sheila McShane told the court how the attack has utterly changed her now 27-year-old daughter’s life.

Then a lively and intelligent young woman, Natasha now requires round-the-clock care and suffers from debilitating seizures and recurring infections.

A video shown to the court showed Natasha struggling to take a sip of water and attempting to walk with assistance.

Outlining evidence against Heriberto Viramontes, the prosecution revealed his fingerprints were found on Natasha’s belongings, and said there was video of him using Ms Jurich’s credit card later that evening at a gas station.

His co-accused Marcy Cruz has already pleaded guilty to her part in the attack.  She accepted a plea deal in return for a 22-year sentence and is expected to testify against Viramontes.

The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.