Moments after Marcy Cruz was sentenced Thursday to 22 years in prison for her role in one of Chicago's most notorious muggings, her father told reporters that she was paying the price for hanging out with the wrong crowd.
"(He was) the wrong person to be with, but it's too late now," Edwin Cruz said of Heriberto Viramontes, his daughter's companion the night of the 2010 attack. "What happened has happened, and we just have to deal with it, and we just have to be strong."
Marcy Cruz provided key testimony this month at Viramontes' trial for the robbery and baseball bat beating that left an exchange student from Northern Ireland severely brain damaged and injured her friend.
Cruz, 28, pleaded guilty in July to two counts of attempted murder after reaching a deal with prosecutors that called for the 22-year prison term in return for her continued cooperation. Judge Jorge Alonso formally imposed the sentence Thursday.
A Cook County jury found Viramontes, 34, guilty last week on all 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and aggravated battery in connection with the attack under a viaduct in the Bucktown neighborhood. He faces up to 120 years in prison.
Cruz testified that she stayed in her minivan after Viramontes said he intended to rob somebody and grabbed a baseball bat.
Natasha McShane, the exchange student, can no longer speak or walk unassisted and struggles to complete simple tasks, while her friend Stacy Jurich recovered but still suffers severe headaches and reduced vision.
Neither Jurich nor the McShane family attended Thursday's brief hearing.
Cruz's father later said he and his daughter wanted to apologize to the victims.
"I don't know if they might ever have the heart to forgive me," Edwin Cruz said. "I know (Marcy) wants the best for Natasha, for her to recover the most and for her to get healthy again."
Cruz and his wife are raising their daughter's two young children. The oldest boy, 7, is becoming aware that "something bad happened" and has seen his mom's face on television, he said.
Cruz said he plans to bring the oldest boy to visit his mother at Cook County Jail before she is moved to a downstate prison.
"I'm glad finally the chapter of the story is finally over," Cruz said. "There's still more to go and hopefully justice will be done (at Viramontes' sentencing)."Copyright © 2015, CT Now