Chicago assault trial hears taped telephone conversations
Man charged with attempted murder of Natasha McShane taped talking to friends
Heribertos Viramontes is charged with two counts of attempted murder and 23 other offences, from misuse of a credit card to aggravated battery of the two women.
Heribertos Viramontes, in taped jailhouse telephone conversations dramatically aired in a court room in Chicago, admits being involved in beating Natasha McShane and her friend.
Jurors in Mr Viramontes’ attempted murder trial sat forward and strained to hear the audio as excerpts from five conversations between Mr Viramontes and a number of un-named individuals were played in the Cook County Criminal court.
But Mr Viramontes, complaining about the possibility of being charged with attempted murder, could be heard saying: “At the same time they cannot charge me with attempted murder. My intentions was not to kill nobody, not to try and kill nobody. My intention was to get money, to get high.”
The comment was made in a conversation, the second of the five, with a female that referred to Natasha McShane, where Mr Viramontes talked about the possibility of her dying. “If she died I would be fucked,” he says.
He also says: “Armed robbery? Ok, fine.”
And in a conversation with a male, the final one played in court, after the person called complains Mr Viramontes was being turned into a “monster”, the defendant says: “I don’t know what I did, I was high. I did some stupid shit. I probably hit her once, took her shit, that’s it.”
Telephone calls involving inmates in Cook County Jail are all taped. The five calls were made by Mr Viramontes in the months after he was arrested in connection with the April 23rd assaults on Ms McShane and Stacy Jurich.
The calls are limited to fifteen minutes and during each the called party is reminded up to four times that they are being monitored and recorded.
In the first call broadcast to the court, his girlfriend at the time Kira Lundgren tells Mr Viramontes that Stacy Jurich, “the one that was not in a coma”, has been released from hospital.
“She’s going home right now and they held a fundraiser for her, raised a lot of money. There’s going to be one for Natasha,” says Ms Lundgren, who was pregnant at the time with a child she believes is Mr Viramontes’s.
“For what?” Viramontes replies. “For medical bills,” Ms Lundgren answers.
He is told “both are doing better, keep getting better, that’s really good.”
Mr Viramontes then starts to cry.
“It’s nobody’s fault but my own. I tried to talk to them. I tried to help out people in the wrong way,” he says.
In a third excerpt, from June 5th, 2010, Mr Viramontes tells the person called he has been charged with first degree attempted murder. He initially was charged with lesser, though still serious offences.
The conversation once again turns to Ms McShane. The female tells him that “one had her benefit yesterday. She did not go but you know her family..”
There was a benefit for Ms McShane the previous day, held in a union hall in Chicago.
Mr Viramontes adds that his “goal was to get money to help Marcy”, referring to his co-defendant Marcy Cruz who later pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder and testified against Mr Viramontes.
In the fourth excerpt, the longest, Mr Viramontes can he heard speaking in an aggressive, expletive-laden, way to a woman. He talks about getting 50 years in prison, about statements made by people and about wanting to get money to help Cruz get her belongings out of a pawn shop.
He added that he wrote to Cruz hoping to get a statement from her he could use in court.
“She’s the only fucking thing holding me down,” he said.
Mr Viramontes (34) is charged with two counts of attempted murder and 23 other offences, from misuse of a credit card to aggravated battery of the two women.
Jurors could begin deliberating as early as tomorrow.