Jury reaches verdict in Bucktown bat beating trial

A jury has reached a verdict in the trial of a Chicago man accused of beating two women with a baseball bat.

Earlier, during closing arguments, Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher paced the courtroom with a wooden bat and stared at the defendant and said, “Behold, Heriberto Viramontes.  Every parent’s nightmare.”

With Stacy Jurich, one of the beating victims  listening in the gallery of the courtroom and the family of the other victim surrounding her, the defendant, Virmontes, was portrayed as a monster, a heartless human being who back in April of 2010 is accused of seeking out white women in Bucktown to rob. Today prosecutors say he tried to kill and maim two of them with a wooden baseball bat.

Stacy Jurich and her friend Natasha McShane, an exchange student from Northern Ireland, were walking home in the early morning hours of April 23, 2010.

Prosecutors told the jury  Viramontes “took Natasha McShane’s future. He burdened them (the McShane family) with the life task of caring for their daughter. He took serenity and sleep from Stacy Jurich along with her peripheral vision and part of her scalp.”

The case centered largely on the testimony of one witness, Marcy Cruz  She is cooperating with prosecutors and says she was the driver of Verimontes’ getaway car the night of the beating. Lawyers played jailhouse phone calls from the defendant where he told a caller “I probably hit her once.” They presented the jury with credit cards receipts days following the crime.  They even showed surveillance video appearing to implicate the defendant.

But testimony from Stacy Jurich, one of the victims,  is what defense attorneys are holding onto. They claim she had her attacker’s race and clothing description all wrong from the start. Even the kind of bat used to take her down.

“We don’t know who did this. But we know it was not Mr. Viramontes,” the defense said.

The jury has been deliberating since around 2 p.m. today.

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