Last week Heriberto Viramontes was found guilty of all charges in relation to the baseball-bat-attack of Armagh woman Natasha McShane in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood in April 2010. On Sunday Chicagoans continued to show their support for the Irish family and her friends through prayer and fundraising.
On Sunday Stacy Jurich, who was also attacked that night, joined McShane’s family for an emotional Mass at the Irish American Heritage Center.
Presiding over the Mass Father Karl Langsdorf asked for prayers for the two victims and for a city troubled by violence. They celebrated the guilty verdict and prayed for the McShane family as Natasha continues her rehab. Once a post-grad student at University College, Dublin McShane is now left unable to walk or hold a conversation and requires constant care from her family.
The close-knit Irish community also took this chance to thank Jurich for saving McShane’s life.
The community also surprised Jurich with a trip to Ireland to visit her “best friend” McShane. The community has also raised money to pay for the care costs which McShane and Jurich both continue to accrue.
Speaking to ABC in Chicago, Joe McShane, who is not related to Natasha McShane, said he had visited with McShane recently and described how difficult it was for her to stand of her own accord.
McShane’s mother and other relatives were also at the Mass.
Jurich told the press that since the verdict she has spoken to McShane. She said “We pulled up Natasha on Skype and it was really great to be able to look at her and tell her that we got him.”
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph McShane’s brother Conor said although he too wishes his sister could have been with them in Chicago to hear the verdict the family is uncertain whether she has any comprehension of what has happened.
"We would have loved to have Natasha here but due to her injuries she is not able to fly over," he said.
"She deserves to be here more than anybody."
"It's hard for us to say because it is difficult for her to communicate, it's a guessing game.
"She seems to know what is going on but we just can't say for sure. She is currently receiving some physical therapy. We will never give up hope that she will make a full recovery.
"In my eyes Natasha will get back one day to where she should have been. We will do anything we can to help her recover."
Happy Earth Day! Ireland sure looks gorgeous from outer space