‘She was not moving and the blood started coming out of her head,” – Natasha’s friend Stacy testifies
The trial of Heriberto Viramontes, the man accused of the horrific attack on South Armagh woman Natasha McShane, has heard from her friend Stacy Jurich.
On 23rd April 2010 Natasha, then 23, was brutally attacked in Chicago and beaten close to death.
At approximately 3.30am on the night in question, Natasha and her friend Stacy Jurich were walking through the Bucktown area of Chicago.
Both girls were walking through 1800 block of North Damen Avenue and chatting when they were approached from behind and beaten with a baseball bat.
Suspected attacker Viramontes then allegedly made off in a getaway car driven by his friend Marcy Cruz (27) but both were arrested soon after.
Marcy Cruz has already started a 22 year stretch behind bars after pleading guilty earlier this year to two counts of murder and could be called as a witness in Viramontes’ trial.
Speaking today in a Chicago court, Stacy said she saw Natasha being struck with a baseball bat.
Stacy explained, through frequent bouts of crying, to the court, “She went down immediately, her face just fell lifelessly into the sidewalk. She was not moving on the ground. The blood started coming out of her head.”
Speaking about the moment the attacker turned the baseball bat on her, Stacy continued, “I heard my head being hit and I felt excruciating pain and sort of lost my equilibrium and just had this taste in my mouth almost like a battery or metallic flavor. The back of my skull was cracked open.”
Stacy said her attacker called her a ‘stupid b****’ as he struggled to pull her handbag strap off her arm. After he fled with the two girl’s purses Jurich described the scene when she turned around to check on Natasha.
“The blood started coming out of her head. I took off my jacket and tried to support her head as well as I could. Then I got up and ran for help.”
Natasha’s mother told the court her daughter used to be a good sketch artist, but ‘can only scribble now’. A video, which Natasha’s father described days ago as ‘the most disturbing one’, was also played to the court, showing 27 year old Natasha struggling to take a drink of water from a cup.
During opening statements a prosecutor described Viramontes as having ‘unleashed his violent rage’ on the two innocent women. In retort, a defence lawyer for Viramontes maintained his client’s innocence and insisted that all evidence against him was circumstantial.
“To this day Miss Jurich has not seen any line-up and been able to say `yes or no. That’s the person who was under the viaduct,’” the defence lawyer told the court.
There was, according to the lawyer, no DNA evidence linking gang member Viramontes to the brutal attacks.
Dismissing star witness Marcy Cruz, who has already started a 22 year prison sentence for her part in the attack, the defence lawyer described her as ‘a person who would say anything to anyone at any time to serve her purpose”.
The trial could last up to two weeks.
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