The trial of two people accused in the brutal beating of Natasha McShane three years ago is set to begin Sept. 9.
The date was settled at a court hearing Monday, just a day short of the third anniversary of the morning when McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich were attacked by a mugger with a baseball bat, leaving McShane with injuries so severe that she can no longer speak or walk.
In Northern Ireland, McShane's family reacted with mixed emotions to news of a trial. "I know it will bring back memories that I don't want to remember," said McShane's father, Liam, speaking by phone from Silverbridge, County Armagh. "It's going to have to come someday, isn't it? It'll be good to have it over and done with."
McShane was a 23-year-old student from Northern Ireland studying in Chicago at the time, and her friend Jurich, then 24, worked for the investment bank Morgan Stanley. They were walking home in the 1800 block of North Damen Avenue about 3:30 a.m. April 23, 2010, when they were attacked.
Since then, the trial has been delayed as attorneys wrangle over DNA evidence and other issues. Meanwhile, Heriberto Viramontes, 34, accused of the mugging, and Marcy Cruz, 28, who allegedly sat in a van during the attack, remain jailed, each facing 25 felony counts, including robbery and attempted murder.
At Monday's hearing, Viramontes pressed two fingers to his lips and blew a kiss to his relatives in the gallery, who smiled and waved. Cruz, looking small and frail, nodded solemnly to her father, Edwin Cruz, who sat and watched the proceedings.
"I wish the best for Natasha and Stacy. They were innocent victims," said Edwin Cruz, 55, a mechanic. His daughter, he said, is "remorseful. She cries and says, 'Mom and Dad, I'm sorry. I should have listened to you.' It's too late now."Copyright © 2015, RedEye