Jailed: woman who beat Natasha McShane with baseball bat and left her for dead in a Chicago underpass
A woman who pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of south Armagh student Natasha McShane in the US in 2010 has been jailed for 22 years.
Marcy Cruz (28) pleaded guilty in a Chicago court on Tuesday to two counts of attempted murder and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for each count.
Ms McShane (26), from Silverbridge, was studying in the University of Illinois in Chicago when she was attacked in April 2010.
The exchange student was leaving a bar with her friend Stacy Jurich when they were targeted.
Natasha had been celebrating an internship that was to allow her to extend her stay in the US.
Both were beaten with a baseball bat and robbed.
Ms McShane was left paralysed and unable to talk after the attack.
Ms Jurich also suffered serious injuries but recovered and was able to return to work.
Cruz must also serve 85% of the sentence before being eligible for parole.
She will also testify against co-defendant Heriberto Viramontes, who is charged with attempted murder.
His trial is scheduled to begin on September 9, 2013.
Court documents filed as part of a plea deal state Cruz had acted as the getaway driver on the night of the attack. According to her statement she claimed Viramontes began talking about robbing people.
The Chicago Tribune reported that prosecutors from Cook County State Attorney's office said the couple had been watching women leaving the bar before the attack.
Cruz also claims Viramontes then jumped from the van with a bat and appeared five minutes later with two purses.
They then sped off with Cruz driving.
Cruz's mother, Adelaida Perez, told the Tribune her daughter had struggled with mental-health problems.
She also said her daughter deeply regrets what happened that night.
"She felt bad about what happened to the girls, real bad, and she still feels bad," she said.
"She didn't know he was capable of doing something like that," she said of Viramontes.
Both had each faced 25 felony counts, including attempted murder and armed robbery. Their trial had been delayed because of a dispute over DNA evidence.
Natasha McShane made headlines around the world when she was viciously assaulted on her way home from a bar in Chicago on April 23, 2010. Then aged 23, she was out celebrating an internship that was to allow her to extend her stay in the US. She was struck on the back of the head and left unconscious by a mugger wielding a baseball bat. Two people – gang member Heriberto Viramontes and his girlfriend Marcy Cruz – were arrested over the attack. Cruz has pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder and has been sentenced to 22 years in jail. Viramontes will face a trial in September.