(CBS) — A Chicago man convicted of brutally beating two women with a baseball bat four years ago was sentenced Thursday to 90 years in prison.
Heriberto Viramontes faced up to more than 100 years in prison for his convictions on attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed robbery — 25 felony counts in all. A jury convicted him late last year.
Prosecutors said Viramontes beat Natasha McShane, an exchange student from Northern Ireland, and her friend Stacy Jurich as they walked home after a night of dancing in April 2010. Jurich has partly recovered; McShane was in a coma for several weeks and still suffers from debilitating injuries back in her home country.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez expressed satisfaction at the sentence Judge Jorge Alonso imposed on Viramontes, whom she called “the personification of evil.” She cited a recorded jailhouse phone call in which Viramontes said the women shouldn’t have been out drinking.
“I’m happy he can’t hurt anybody again,” an emotional Jurich told reporters.
Both victims, then studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago, were beaten unconscious and left on the street in the Bucktown neighborhood. A co-defendant, Marcy Cruz, testified against Viramontes in a plea deal and said he launched the attack from the van they were riding in before returning to tell her about it.
As tears streamed down her cheeks, Jurich on Thursday described her life today, saying she has seizures, migraines and constant flashbacks of the bat attack.
“I wish the sound of the bat breaking my head open, would go away,” she said.
Natasha’s mother, Sheila McShane, continually wiped away tears as she spoke in court saying her daughter’s “independence has been brutally taken away from her. The burden her family feels most is she cannot communicate with us.”
Viramontes did not apologize when he made a statement to the court Thursday, but said “God bless you” in reference to the two victims.