THE TRIAL of two people accused of the brutal beating of Natasha McShane in Chicago, USA, three years ago will begin on September 9, a court has decided.
Ms McShane, 26, from Silverbridge, and her friend Stacy Jurich were attacked by a mugger with a baseball bat on April 23, 2010, leaving her with injuries so severe that she can no longer speak or walk.
The trial date was settled at a court hearing yesterday and Natasha’s father, Liam, says it will be a relief when the proceedings are over.
“I know it will bring back memories that I don’t want to remember,” he said.
“It’s going to have to come someday, isn’t it? It’ll be good to have it over and done with.
“Everyone just assumed Natasha got better.
“The fact is, she didn’t. She can’t walk, she can’t talk and we have no idea what is going on inside her head. She isn’t okay and she needs help.”
After spending several months in a Chicago hospital, Ms McShane was moved to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
However, she then suffered a series of setbacks, including infection, seizures and brain shunts.
Since the attack, the trial has been delayed as attorneys wrangle over DNA evidence and other issues.
Heriberto Viramontes, 34, accused of the mugging, and Marcy Cruz, 28, who allegedly sat in a van during the attack, remain jailed, each facing 25 felony counts, including robbery and attempted murder.
At Monday’s hearing, Viramontes pressed two fingers to his lips and blew a kiss to his relatives in the gallery, who smiled and waved.
Cruz, looking small and frail, nodded solemnly to her father, Edwin Cruz, who sat and watched the proceedings.
“I wish the best for Natasha and Stacy. They were innocent victims,” said Mr Cruz.
His daughter, he said, is “remorseful. She cries and says, ‘Mom and Dad, I’m sorry. I should have listened to you.’ It’s too late now.”