When the trial begins this week in the 2010 baseball bat beating of Irish exchange student Natasha McShane, the 27-year-old survivor will not even know it's happening.
The brutal incident in Chicago's trendy Bucktown neighborhood made international headlines and left McShane with such devastating injuries she can no longer walk or speak. It's because of this that her family has opted to keep her in the dark about the trial.
"No, no. We wouldn't say that to her, in case it brings back memories," McShane's father, Liam, told the Tribune of the trial. "Maybe someday if she can get better, she'll have to know. But I don't feel that I have to tell her now."
The Belfast Telegraph in McShane's native Ireland reported in April the attack has left the family providing round-the-clock care for the woman and left her own life and plans for the future "in tatters."
The woman described as having a bubbly personality now struggles to drink from a straw. A portion of her brain was removed to alleviate swelling after the brutal attack left her with a smashed skull.
Jurors are expected to see these realities of McShane's day-to-day life in video during the trial. Attorneys for Heriberto Viramontes, the 34-year-old accused of beating McShane and her American friend Stacy Jurich, argued a 90-minute clip showing McShane's struggles would be "too prejudicial."
“In the video Ms. McShane seemingly has difficulty feeding herself and wears a bib like a small child,” the Sun-Times reports, citing court documents. “The difference between Ms. McShane as a graduate student in Chicago, as she was at the time of the incident, and her life in Ireland could not be starker.”
The most damming testimony could come from Marcy Cruz, the woman who was with Viramontes before the attack. This summer, Cruz agreed to help prosecutors in exchange for a 22-year prison sentence on attempted murder charges.
In April of 2010, McShane and Jurich were walking home from a Bucktown bar when they were attacked by a man wielding a baseball bat. The man savagely beat the women before taking their purses and fleeing.
Viramontes and Cruz were later charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed robbery in the case. Cruz reportedly left her young children with her boyfriend to go out with Viramontes the night of the attack. After having sex and smoking marijuana in a van, Viramontes allegedly drove to Bucktown looking for people to rob for drug money, saying "Look at all these rich white b----es" before targeting McShane and Jurich.
While McShane and Jurich are expected to be absent from the trial, McShane's mother, father and two siblings will attend.
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