Man guilty of attempted murder of Co Armagh woman in Chicago

Friday 25 October 2013 22.18
Natasha McShane suffered a severe brain injury in the assault
Natasha McShane suffered a severe brain injury in the assault

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

Heriberto Viramontes, 34, was convicted at Cook County Criminal Court in Chicago yesterday.

Ms McShane and Ms Jurich were attacked and robbed in the early hours of 23 April 2010.

Ms McShane, who had been attending the University of Illinois at the time of the assault, suffered a severe brain injury.

She remains unable to walk without support and is barely able to talk.

Ms McShane's family were in court for the five-day trial and there were emotional scenes as the guilty verdicts were delivered.

In a statement on behalf of the family, her brother Conor said the crime brought "great sadness and sorrow to their home" and he said Natasha's life had been "ruined by the attack".

Viramontes faces a maximum 120 years in prison and his sentencing is likely to take place later this year.

In July, Viramontes' accomplice Marcy Cruz was jailed for 22 years after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted murder over the attack.

Ms McShane’s grandmother said her granddaughter would have had a bright future, had she not been the victim of the aggravated robbery.

Bernadette McShane said her grandaughter would have had a successful future.  She said she is making slight improvements and hopes Natasha will be able to hold a conversation with her some day. 

"Natasha was always academically brilliant. She worked very hard to get where she got in her education and through university. She would've had a brilliant career and future ahead of her.  

"She has made slight improvements but I would love some day that she would be able to have a conversation."

She said that the verdict brings relief for her and the McShane family, after a difficult time.