Northern Ireland

Natasha McShane: Heriberto Viramontes jailed for 90 years for attempted murder

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Media captionHeriberto Viramontes has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for the attempted murder of Natasha McShane. Peter Coulter reports.

A man found guilty of the attempted murder of County Armagh woman Natasha McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich in Chicago four years ago, has been sentenced to 90 years in jail.

Heriberto Viramontes, 35, was convicted at Cook County Criminal Court in the US city last October.

The pair were attacked and robbed as they walked home after a night out in the early hours of 23 April 2010.

Ms McShane has been left with severe brain damage.

Judge Jorge Alonso said the sentence was based on the "brutality and cold-blooded heartlessness displayed on the night".

Viramontes received 25 years for each of the attempted murders and a further 20-year sentence for aggravated armed robbery, all consecutive.

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Image caption Heriberto Viramontes has been sentenced to 90 years in jail

The judge ruled he must serve 85% of the sentence.

Ahead of the sentencing, Natasha's mother Sheila took the stand to deliver a victim impact statement.

She described the continuing pain, anguish and emotional turmoil the student and her family were going through.

"If it was not (Natasha) then it would have been somebody else. That's the sad part," said Mrs McShane.

"We want justice whatever the outcome... Natasha will have a life sentence of her own to serve, a life sentence of pain and misery and unfulfillment."

Twenty-seven-year-old Natasha McShane, from Silverbridge in County Armagh, had been attending the University of Illinois at the time of the assault.

Following the verdict last October, Natasha's family revealed that her life had been ruined by the attack.

She has been left unable to talk or walk unaided.

Natasha returned to Northern Ireland in July 2010, three months after the attack.

Stacy Jurich, who was also attacked with Ms McShane, said that the period since the incident had been the most difficult in her life.

Viramontes' accomplice Marcy Cruz was jailed for 22 years last July after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted murder over the attack.

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