UPDATE: Viramontes Guilty...
Jurors reached a verdict Thursday in the trial of a man accused of brutally beating a Northern Ireland exchange student and her friend in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood in 2010.
Attorneys defending the man accused of beating the women with a baseball bat said that what happened to the women is certainly a tragedy, but so is convicting an innocent man.
"It is a tragedy that a son, a father, a nephew is being charged for something he did not do," one attorney told Cook County jurors during Thursday's closing arguments in the trial against Heriberto Viramontes.
Viramontes, 37, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed robbery in connection with the assault on Natasha McShane and Stacy Jurich in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood.
Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher called Viramontes "every parent's nightmare."
"He swung that bat viciously against those girls," Maher said. "If not for radical treatments [McShane] would be gone."
The only thing that points to Viramontes in the case, attorneys said, is that he was later found with the victims' credit cards. But the defense argued that doesn't make him the attacker.
At some point between 3 a.m. and 3:49 a.m. that April 2010 morning, they said, Viramontes came in contact with those credit cards.
The prosecution took about a week to make their case against Viramontes. The defense team took a few hours on Wednesday attempting to prove their client wasn't the man who attacked the women beneath the viaduct in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood.
Viramontes did not take the stand in his own defense.
On Tuesday, jurors heard recorded jailhouse calls in which Viramontes admitted to his girlfriend that he committed the violent mugging. Kira Lundgren testified that Viramontes was agitated the night of the attack and wouldn't let her read media accounts of it.
Viramontes' ex-girlfriend, Marcy Cruz, was on the stand Monday as part of her plea deal with prosecutors. She was with Viramontes the night of the attack and told jurors the bat used in the attack belonged to the father of her children. She said Viramontes grabbed it before getting out of the van with intentions of robbing McShane and Jurich.
The defense tried to paint Cruz as a liar, saying she changed her statement to police about whether Viramontes took a bat from her van to beat Jurich and McShane. But prosecutors said Cruz admitted to police she saw Viramontes take the bat and put it up his sleeve.
Jurors last week Friday saw photos of the bat prosecutors said was used in the attack. And a day earlier, Jurich herself was on the stand describing the ordeal.