Man who threw 5-year-old boy off Mall of America balcony sentenced to 19 years in prison
The man who mercilessly thrown a five-year-old child over the third-floor railing at the Mall of America has been sentenced to 19 years in prison, as a result of his heinous and "evil" actions on Monday, June 3, in Minneapolis.
The 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda kept his head down throughout most of the short sentencing and declined to address the court when the Hennepin County District Judge Jeannice Reding gave him the opportunity. Last month, Aranda had pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder in connection to the April 12 attack which almost killed a five-year-old child.
We had earlier reported that Aranda had chosen the child at random, picked him up, and then flung him over a third-floor railing before running away, authorities shared. Aranda's victim, Landen Hoffman, is in the hospital over a month later and is recovering from his injuries.
As reported by DailyMail, neither the child nor his parents appeared in court on Monday, June 3, but did offer statements which were read by prosecutor Cheri Townsend. The boy's father said in the statement, "Your act was evil and selfish. You chose to listen to the worst parts of yourself that day. That is where your impact on us stops. You will take nothing more from us."
The child's mother had said, "God will judge you someday and I have peace with that. 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." Aranda's plea deals called for prosecutors to drop an aggravated circumstances component to the charge which would have meant a year more in prison. Aranda's mother Becky, meanwhile, said that her son is mentally ill and needs to be in a mental hospital and not a prison.
Aranda's attorney did not raise a mental illness defense though Aranda had acknowledged that he had been in a mental health court before and had completed the treatment. Authorities revealed that Aranda had told investigators that he had gone to the mall "looking for someone to kill." According to the complaint, he had tried to talk to women in the mall but was unsuccessful and their rejection "caused him to lash out and be aggressive."
He had then approached Landen at random, picked him up, and thrown him over the balcony which was nearly a 40 ft fall. As a result, Landen required multiple surgeries for head trauma and broken bones.
Landen's family started a GoFundMe page which shared an update on his health on May 24 and said he was recovering. The update read, "Over the past several weeks, our son has suffered from non-life threatening complications from his injuries which have required additional procedures to correct. 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."
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