Heriberto Viramontes (31) and Marcy Cruz (25), who are charged with the attempted murder of Armagh student, Natasha McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich, have pleaded not guilty on all charges.

The pair are being charged on 25 indictments including attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint. The attack took place on April 23 in Bucktown, Chicago.

Cruz waited in a van while Viramontes robbed and viciously beat the defenseless women with a baseball bat.

McShane, a native of Silverbridge, County Armagh, received the brunt of the attack. Her friend, Jurich, managed to raise the alarm before losing consciousness from her injuries. Jurich is now recovering in her home.

The University College Dublin student, McShane, remains in an intensive care facility with her family at her bedside. She has spoken her first words since the attack but is making a slow recovery, having been in a coma for almost a month.

Her mother Sheila McShane said “She’s starting to speak. It’s not very clear, but it’s there.

“She’s making slow steps, but she’s improving every day. She knows we’re here. We’re going to be here for a while. She smiles occasionally, but she’s really more agitated to be honest.

“She’s not very happy at the moment.”

Her grandmother said “She’s a very strong-willed girl, and if anyone can do it, Natasha can.”

Her condition is still described as serious condition. She first opened her eyes on May 7 having spent three weeks in medically-induced coma.

Viramontes and Cruz are scheduled to appear in court again on July 7.

The accused Heriberto Viramontes and Marcy Cruz, who negociated a plea deal for 22 years in prisonPolice Handout