Stacy: ‘I wasn’t strong enough to help Natasha’
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
A FRIEND of south Armagh student Natasha McShane has revealed how she has been haunted with a profound sense of guilt over the horrific baseball bat attack on the pair that left the Silverbridge girl unable to walk or talk.
Stacy Jurich was walking home with Natasha after a night out in Chicago in April 2010 when they were stopped, mugged and beaten with a man wielding a baseball bat. Stacy woke up in intensive care in Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Centre two days later and cried at Natasha's beside and promised her they would "dance again".
Speaking to the Chicago Tribute four years after the attack, Stacy recalled waking up in hospital and immediately asking about Natasha.
“I woke up and asked 'where's Natasha'," she said.
“No one would say. I said 'No, no, no'. Because I still remembered. I saw her on the ground. I saw her, and there was blood everywhere. It wasn't just my blood. It wasn't just my blood. I said, 'Where is she?'"
Stacy said she then made her own way to another ward and cried as she held her friend's hand at her bedside.
“I told her I loved her," she said. "I said it's going to be ok. We're going to dance again. Don't worry babe, we're going to dance again."
Stacy suffered serious head injuries that resulted in seizures, halting speech and partial paralysis in her left side. She spent three months in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago learning how to walk again.
But the 28-year-old banker was determined to see the attacker jailed and in October last year she testified against Heriberto Viramontes.
During the trial, Stacy described what happened on the night of the attack and became overwhelmed with emotion as she spoke of seeing Natasha lying in a pool of blood.
“I always knew what my duty was," she said. "I had to be the voice because I didn't want this man to hurt anyone else. I wanted to put him away for my best friend, for Natasha."
He was found guilty of attempted murders of the two women as well as six charges of aggravated burglary and two of armed robbery.
He is due to be sentenced later this week.
Despite helping convict Viramontes, Stacy said she still feels guilty that she wasn't able to do more to protect Natasha on that dark night as they headed home to Stacy's house.
She added: "She was a block away from my house. I wasn't strong enough to help her."
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