COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The stripper girlfriend of the man accused in the Bucktown bat beating that left an Irish exchange student severely brain damaged testified Monday that Heriberto Viramontes was driving around Bucktown looking for a victim to rob that night.
"He tells me: 'Look at all these white hos.' He wanted to rob one of them," said Marcy Cruz, who admitted she waited for Viramontes while he allegedly beat Natasha McShane, 23, and her friend Stacy Jurich, who were walking home from a Bucktown bar.
Marcy Cruz, 28, took the stand as part of a plea deal she accepted in July.
Aside from agreeing to serve a 22-year prison sentence, Cruz said she would tell a judge and jury about what happened on April 23, 2010 — when her then-boyfriend Viramontes allegedly attacked McShane and Jurich, prosecutors said.
Cruz said she met Viramontes through her childrens' father. The two were friends at first, but on her birthday, they two "hooked up." Cruz called Viramontes "Betto."
Viramontes already had a girlfriend, Cruz admitted. And that woman was pregnant with his child.
On the night of the infamous bat attack, Cruz said she and another "exotic dancer" she knew from the South Side club where they worked went to a private club called Illusions.
She had a few tequila drinks and left with Viramontes when he showed up. She said Viramontes parked in an alley near Division and Western, where they had sex in the car.
Afterward, they drove around Bucktown, Cruz said.
"He tells me, 'Look at all these white hos,' that he wanted to rob one of them," Cruz testified.
Viramontes pulled the van over on a side street near the intersection of Milwaukee and Damen, Cruz testified.
"He told me, 'I don't want you to be involved in nothing I'm about to do,' " before grabbing a wooden baseball bat from the back seat of her van and jumping out, she told jurors.
Minutes later — Cruz said she'd listened to a single song on the radio while waiting — Viramontes returned carrying two purses, she said. Viramontes removed the credit cards from purses and told her to keep whatever she liked.
Cruz pocketed some "expensive" Dior perfume, she said.
After he allegedly left McShane unconscious beneath a Bucktown viaduct, Viramontes told Cruz "the girls were really pretty and he did some 'bogus s---,' " Cruz said.
Prosecutors allege that Viramontes, 34, sneaked up behind the two women and "unleashed his violent rage," beating and robbing them.
Under cross-examination, Cruz admitted lying to police and giving multiple accounts of what happened the night of the attack. She said she smoked a blunt and drank Tequila and that she was off her anti-anxiety medication the night of the attack.
Cruz said she didn't see Viramontes beat and rob the two victims, nor did Viramontes ever tell her exactly what he did.
"I know he was going to rob somebody; I know what he did," Cruz said.
More than three years after McShane fell victim to the bat-wielding mugger in the 1800 block of North Damen Avenue, the Irish woman is unable to walk on her own or talk.
Jurich, who also suffered a severe head injury in the attack, gave jurors her emotional account of what happened last week.
"I felt an excruciating pain, and sort of lost my equilibrium. [There was] a taste in my mouth like a battery," she said of being hit from behind. McShane "went down immediately. She lifelessly just fell onto the sidewalk."
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.
Marcy Cruz's mother, Adelaida Perez, 54, who lives in Humboldt Park, said before the plea deal that she would "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."