THE conviction of a man who attacked a young Irish woman, leaving her brain-damaged, means that "justice has finally been done", her heartbroken mother has said.
Natasha McShane (27) suffered appalling injuries when she and a friend were beaten and robbed in downtown Chicago in April 2010.
However, the mother of the Co Armagh woman believes justice has now been done following the conviction of Heriberto Viramontes for attempted murder.
The 34-year-old faces between six and 120 years in prison.
In July, an accomplice in the attack was jailed for 22 years after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted murder.
When asked if she was satisfied with the court ruling, an emotional Sheila McShane replied: "Absolutely."
Following a five-day trial which ended last week, Natasha's brother, Conor, said in a statement: "This crime against my sister has changed my life forever.
"It has had a devastating impact on our entire family."
He said Natasha's life had been ruined by the attack, and she had been left unable to walk unaided or speak.
Her friend, Stacy Jurich, who was also a victim of Viramontes, said the period since the random attack has been the most difficult of her life.
"The last three-and-a-half years have been the hardest time in my entire life," she said.
"Not only was it a struggle for me, but it has been a struggle to face what happened to my best friend Natasha – something I will never forget."
Prosecuting attorney Anita Alvarez said: "Instead of welcoming our visitors with an open heart, she was confronted with a baseball bat.
"I am very pleased that this man has been held responsible for the brutal and senseless beating of both Stacy Jurich and Natasha McShane."
The court heard that a stone was discovered lodged in Natasha's throat.
It also heard that her injuries were so serious that a brain surgeon was immediately called following her admission to hospital.
Evidence was also given that she had suffered severe injuries to her head, with blood discovered both inside and outside the skull.
The friends were attacked under a viaduct as they walked home together after a night out.
Natasha, from Silverbridge, Co Armagh, was a 23-year-old student at the University of Illinois at the time of the assault.