Man guilty of attempted murder of Natasha McShane

Heriberto Viramontes (34) faces up to 120 years in prison for assault on Co Armagh student and her friend Stacey Jurich in Chicago


A man has been found guilty of the attempted murder of Co Armagh woman Natasha NcShane and her friend Stacey Jurich in Chicago three years ago.

Heriberto Viramontes (34) was found guilty at Cook Court.

Viramontes,was found guilty of the attempted murders of Ms McShane and her friend Ms Jurich who were beaten and robbed as they returned home from a night out in the Bucktown neighbourhood of Chicago in April 2010.

The jury also found Viramontes guilty on six charges of aggravated battery and two of armed robbery.

He faces a maximum 120 years in prison when sentenced, likely later this year. Members of the McShane family, many of whom were in court for the week-long trial, hugged each other and cried after the verdict was read out, just before 6pm local time, after three and a half hours deliberating.

Natasha’s brother Conor McShane, in a statement on behalf of the family, said the crime three and a half years ago brought “great sadness and sorrow to our home.”

Mr McShane said: “The verdict provides us with a sense of justice, provides us with a sense of great relief. This crime changed her life forever and has had a devastating impact on our entire family.”

He said it was a “daily struggle” for his sister and that the the crime had “ruined Natasha’s life and brought great sadness and sorrow to our home”.

Ms McShane (27) remains unable to walk without support and barely able to talk. She suffered a severe brain injury.

Mr McShane praised Ms Jurich - who ran into the street to quickly raise the alarm as Natasha lay bleeding on the road - for her bravery.

Natasha would not be alive today had it not been for Stacy, Mr McShane said. He also thanked the prosecutors and the people of Chicago for their overwhelming “support and generosity”.

Viramontes’ family, two sisters, also spoke, in anger that they were not given any notice the verdicts were due to be delivered. They were not in court when the verdicts were read out.

Ms Jurich, now 27, said she is relieved Viramontes will not walk the streets again. As she spoke of her “best friend” Natasha, she broke down in tears.

“I just wanted to say this has been hard over the last three years. This has been the hardest time of my entire life, a struggle for me and what happened to my best friend Natasha,” she said.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Chicago’s lead prosecutor, said her office was “pleased and relieved” the jury came to the conclusion Viramontes was guilty and will be held accountable for the “brutal and senseless” beating.

“It’s a shame someone like Natasha McShane, here to continue her schooling, visiting from Ireland, was not able to enjoy our city.

“Instead of a welcoming she was confronted with a baseball bat.” She thanked the McShane family, which has “endured so much.”

The daughter who returned home from Chicago will never be the same again, Ms Alvarez said.