The man who mercilessly threw a five-year-old boy off of a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in April after entering the complex ‘looking for someone to kill’ has been sentenced to 19 years in prison.
Emmanuel Aranda, 24, showed little emotion as he was sentenced on Monday in Minneapolis.
He pleaded guilty last month to attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the April 12 attack.
His victim, toddler Landen Hoffman, is still in the hospital over a month later recovering from his severe injuries.
Landen’s parents decried Aranda’s actions as ‘evil’ but said they forgive him in emotional victim impact statements read out on their behalf.
Aranada kept his head down at his sentencing and declined to address the court when Hennepin County District Judge Jeannice Reding offered him the chance.
Aranda’s plea deal calls for prosecutors to drop an aggravated-circumstances component to the charge that could have meant an additional year in prison.
Aranda’s mother, Becky, said her son is mentally ill and he belongs in a mental hospital, not prison.
His attorney didn’t raise a mental illness defense but Aranda acknowledged before the judge that he had been in mental health court before and completed treatment.
Authorities say Aranda told investigators he went to the mall ‘looking for someone to kill.’
According to the complaint, he had tried unsuccessfully to talk to women in the mall but their rejection ’caused him to lash out and be aggressive.’ He said had planned to kill an adult before choosing the child instead.
Aranda approached Landen at random, picked him up, and threw him over the balcony, a nearly 40-foot fall.
Little Landen Hoffmann plummeted to the ground in the attack and fought for his life in the hospital, requiring multiple surgeries for head trauma and broken bones.
He and his parents, who have requested privacy, didn’t appear in court on Monday, but offered impact statements read in court.
‘Your act was evil and selfish. You chose to listen to the worst parts of yourself that day,’ the dad said in his statement. ‘That is where your impact on us stops. You will take nothing more from us.’
‘God will judge you someday and I have peace with that,’ the mother’s statement said. ‘I hand it off to him and you will take none of my thoughts ever again. I am done with you.’
You chose to think about yourself that day, what you were feeling and wanted to do to someone else. I’m sad you chose anger and hatred,’ she added.
Landen’s family provided an update to his health on May 24 saying he is recovering.
‘Over the past several weeks, our son has suffered from non-life threatening complications from his injuries which have required additional procedures to correct,’ the latest update on his GoFundMe page says.
‘He is recovering, and his spirit is strong – but there is still a long road ahead. We are thankful to Jesus for lifting us up and providing ongoing healing. We continue to ask for your prayers and greatly appreciate your respect for our privacy during this difficult time,’ it added.
The GoFundMe Page has surpassed the stunning $1million goal as of Monday afternoon.