COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — More than three years after an Irish exchange student was beaten into a coma with a baseball bat while walking under a Bucktown viaduct, the ex-girlfriend of the man accused in the attack has pleded guilty to attempted murder.
Marcy Cruz, 28, pled guilty to the two counts of attempted murder Tuesday, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. The plea agreement calls for her to be sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Cruz was waiting in a van in the early morning hours of April 23, 2010 when her boyfriend, Heriberto Viramontes, savagely attacked Natasha McShane, 23, and her friend Stacy Jurich, prosecutors said.
The two young women were returning from a night out when Viramontes, 34, came up from behind them to rob them in the 1800 block of North Damen Avenue, authorities said.
Even though Cruz did not swing the bat with her own hands, prosecutors originally leveled the same charges against her and Viramontes: multiple counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and robbery and two counts of attempted murder.
With her guilty plea, Cruz is expected to testify against Viramontes when his murder trial begins in September.
McShane fell into a coma as a result of her injuries. McShane would eventually wake up, but she continues to suffer the devastating effects of brain injuries, friends said. She lives with her family in the rural community of Silverbridge in Northern Ireland.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) welcomed Cruz's plea.
"I think it's good. Now it's pretty simple if she's going to testify against Viramontes it will get closer to sealing the deal on his conviction," he said. "I don't think its closure for Stacy and Natasha because Natasha is still in bad condition. The wheels of justice took a long time to get to the place people want it to be."
Waguespack credited Logan Square resident Joe Kopera for keeping him informed with calls and emails as soon as court dates are over. "
It's nice to have him there. Nice to have people like them watching out for the whole neighborhood."
On the anniversary of the attack, Jurich posted a photo of herself and Natasha McShane to her Facebook page with a message of "April is Upon Us. Please don't forget."
Brian Burrow, a local bar manager who's kept in contact with the Jurich family, has said Jurich "wants to move on, talk about happier things."
Marcy Cruz's mother, Adelaida Perez, 54, who lives in Humboldt Park, would not comment when she was reached by phone Tuesday.
She has said in the past that she was "very nervous" about the trial but will "accept whatever punishment is given" to her daughter.
"I feel bad because I am a mother and I put myself in those girls' moms' shoes. They are suffering, this is terrible. I do not agree with what happened. ... I wish I could wake up out of this nightmare."