Week's Review: The Bucktown baseball bat attack trial of Heriberto Viramontes

Joe Kopera

Heriberto Viramontes

With all the main street media stories published this week and spoken on the local news stations regarding the vicious baseball bat attack on Natasha McShane and Stacy Jurich by Heriberto Viramontes back in the early morning hours of April 23, 2010 on the 1800 block of N. Damen, it would be hard to write about anything that hasn't already been written or spoken. This is a brief summary. At the bottom of this article are a few links to articles that can provide more detailed information.

Some of us in the Bucktown community have been following this case since day one attending court hearings and community meetings. CAPS beat facilitators and Court Advocate Sandy Johnson, Peter Kohn, Shelly Frezelis and myself have been to court on many different hearing dates reporting information to the 14th District CAPS office and the office of 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack,who was also very instrumental from the beginning of the followup of the crime.

The case against Heriberto Viramontes was moved to Room 604 at 26th and California due to the expected coverage and the number of people who would be attending the trial. Jury selection began Tues., Oct. 15, and a Jury was picked by the early evening.

Wednesday, Oct.16 court began at 11 a.m.and Court Advocates and community members attended. Margaret Ogarek gave the opening statement for the State detailing what the State plans to show during the trial which included photo evidence of Viramontes using credit cards at at gas station on Western and Augusta within about a half hour after the attack as well as fingerprints on McShane's bag, which was recovered at that gas station.

Up next David Dunne, Assistant Public Defender, made a statement that the State's evidence was based on weak circumstantial evidence and the unreliable word of co-defendant Marcy Cruz whom already has pleaded guilty for a 22-year prison sentence.

First up to testify after the Wednesday lunch break was Stacy Jurich who described details of her night out to celebrate accomplishments both had achieved. It was out for diner and a second stop for a little dancing and a drink before heading home which was in the 2000 block of W. Churchill St.

Stacy, holding back tears at times, testified about the details of the attack which included photo's of the red jacket she used to try stop the flow of blood from McShane's head while waiting for emergency responders. She described the attacker as wearing a hoody, only seeing his hand and not seeing his face. 

Next up was Sheila McShane, Natasha's mother, who could only testify about the physical and mental condition of her daughter. A short three-minute video with no sound was played for the jury showing Natasha's condition. Natasha is still only able to utter a single word.

Last up Wednesday was a detective from Area 5 who followed a van, at about 3:30 a.m. that morning, going from Wabansia and Damen, left on Milwaukee, right on Hoyne, right into the alley, parking under the El track for a few moments. The detective unaware of the attack ran a plate check and did not make a stop. The plate check reported the plate as being registered to Marcy Cruz the co-defendant.

Thursday the trial continued at around 10:30 a.m. in room 604. Alderman Waguespack appeared as a spectator to the testimony for a couple of hours. Thursday's witnesses included testimony from an Ill Masonic Hospital surgeon, the evidence tech who gathered evidence from the crime scene and the gas station attendant working at the station on Western and Augusta back on the night of the crime. Photo's were shown of Viramotes using credit cards of one of the victims at this station.

Friday, once again the trial continued at around 10:30 a.m. in room 604. Wednesday's witnesses included testimony about cell phone and credit card use. Other testimony was from the then Area 5 District Commander Joseph Fleming; the surgeon Dr Kranzler, who first cared for Natasha; the EMT dispatched to the crime scene to transport Stacy Jurich; and Amy Campbell the evidence tech, who on April 27th gathered evidence from Marcy Cruz's van at Grand and Central. This evidence included the baseball bat that probably was used in the attack. The finial witness was a current Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) inmate who made contact with Viramotes that night and was given stolen credit cards given to him by the defendant. 

Monday Oct. 21 at 10:30 a.m. the trial will continue. Marcy Cruz the co-defendant is expected to testify against Viramontes. It sure would be nice for community people who have some free time to show up at 26th and California, room 604 to hear her testimony. Cell phones and electronic devices are no longer allowed in this court house, except by lawyers, press with validation and jury members.

For those wishing to read some of the articles printed this week in various print or online newspaper's I have provide a few links below:

Chicago Tribune on Oct. 16Oct. 17, and Oct. 18

Chicago Sun-Times on Oct. 18 

DNAInfo on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17







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