A WOMAN who acted as a getaway driver for the alleged attacker of Irish student Natasha McShane has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Marcy Cruz pleaded guilty to two counts of the attempted murder of Co Armagh student Natasha and her friend, Stacey Jurich.
The state attorney's office of Cook County, Illinois, said Cruz was sentenced to 11 years on each count and must serve at least 85pc of that term before she can be considered for parole.
As part of her plea deal with prosecutors, Cruz also agreed to testify against her one-time co-defendant, Heriberto Viramontes, who will go on trial in September.
Natasha, a postgraduate student from UCD, was studying at the University of Illinois in Chicago when she and her friend were attacked as they walked home following a night out on April 23, 2010.
Natasha (26), who bore the brunt of the vicious attack in which both women were hit with a metal baseball bat, was left severely disabled and, three years on, can barely talk or walk. Stacy has since made a good recovery.
Cruz's mother, Adelaida Perez, told the 'Chicago Tribune' that her daughter deeply regrets what happened that night.
"She felt bad about what happened to the girls, real bad, and she still feels bad," Ms Perez said.