Witness in Natasha McShane trial sentenced to 22 years

Marcy Cruz was the getaway driver after Heriberto Viramontes attacked student

A woman who was the getaway driver after Irish student Natasha McShane (above) and her friend Stacy Jurich were attacked in Chicago in  2010 has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

A woman who was the getaway driver after Irish student Natasha McShane (above) and her friend Stacy Jurich were attacked in Chicago in 2010 has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

 

A key witness in the trial of a man convicted of attempting to murder Irish student Natasha McShane has been formally sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Marcy Cruz, a 28-year-old mother of two, was the getaway driver after her lover Heriberto Viramontes beat and robbed McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich in Chicago in April, 2010.

Following the sentencing at Cook County Criminal court, her father, Edwin said his daughter and he want to apologise to the victims.

“I don’t know if they might have the heart to forgive me. I know (Marcy) wants the best for Natasha, for her to recover the most and for her to get healthy again,” Mr Cruz said.

Three years after the attack, Natasha McShane, a now 27-year-old masters graduate from UCD who was in Chicago on an exchange programme, remains severely disabled, unable to walk unaided and barely able to talk.

Cruz was a powerful witness against 34-year-old Viramontes, convicted last week on ten charges, including the attempted murders of the two young women.

She had agreed to the sentence as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. She pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted murder, receiving an 11-year sentence for each of the crimes, to serve consecutively.

Under Illinois state sentencing rules for serious crimes, she will serve 85 per cent of the term and with time served taken into account, will be released in 16 years.

Viramontes faces up to 120 years, essentially life in a state penitentiary, when he is sentenced, likely before the end of the year.

Cruz testified that she waited in her van as Viramontes picked up a baseball bat to go looking for “white hos” to beat and rob. He was back in the van with two purses after about three minutes.

As the pair rifled through the purses, he told Cruz: “They were really pretty girls. I did some bogus shit.”

Edwin Cruz said Viramontes was “the wrong person to be with, but it’s too late now.”

“What happened has happened, and we just have to deal with it and we have to be strong,” said Mr Cruz.

“I’m glad finally the chapter of the story is finally over. There’s still more to go and hopefully justice will be done (at Viramontes’ sentencing).”

Mr Cruz and his wife are raising their daughter’s children, aged seven and four.