Two Charged in Bat Attack

Man and his girlfriend charged after police tracked credit cards, phone

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The attack on two women with a baseball bat in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood last Friday was so senseless and brutal that two experienced, hardened detectives welled up with tears as one of the victims recounted the story, police said Tuesday as they announced that two people had been charged with the crime.

    Heriberto Viramontes, 30, and Marcy Cruz, 25, were taken into custody Monday night and each have been charged with two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of armed robbery, according to the Cook County State's Attorney.

    Investigators tracked the suspects down using records from credit cards that were stolen during the attack.  A search of their apartments turned up the credit cards, "several" purses and the wooden bat police believe was used in the crime.

    During an afternoon press conference, Area 5 Detective Division Commander Joseph Salemme said that each have given statements to police implicating themselves in the attack. 

    The pair were also recorded by surveillance video buying gas with the victims' credit cards in the area within minutes of the beating, he said.

    Both suspects have prior arrests.  Viramontes' rap sheet includes convictions for possession of a stolen motor vehicle, burglary and domestic battery, Cook County court records show.  He also has a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, police said.

    Cruz has been arrested for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct but does not have any convictions.

    The victims, Natasha McShane, a 23-year-old exchange student from Ireland, and Stacy Jurich, 24, had been out celebrating Jurich's recent gain of an internship at a Chicago-area company Thursday night.  They were attacked when they passed under a railroad viaduct in the 1800 block of North Damen at about 3:30 a.m. Friday.

    Salemme said the attack came "without warning or demand," but Jurich was able to say that someone had hit them with a bat and stole their purses before she lost consciousness.

    McShane was transferred Tuesday from Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where specialists can treat her for her particular injuries, sources told NBC Chicago.  She remains in critical condition.  Jurich's condition has been upgraded to fair, police said.  

    Viramontes and Cruz are expected to make their first court appearances Wednesday.