A Minnesota man who allegedly pushed a 5-year-old boy off of a balcony at the Mall of America has pleaded guilty to attempted murder, The New York Post is reporting.
Emmanuel Aranda, 24, was allegedly “looking for someone to kill” back on April 12, as The Inquisitr reported a few days later. To that end, he went to Bloomington’s Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis and allegedly approached a 5-year-old boy who was standing near his mother. Then, Aranda allegedly picked up the boy and threw him over the third-floor balcony.
The boy, later identified as Landen Hoffmann, fell 40 feet into the crowd below, suffering critical, life-threatening injuries, for which he spent days in intensive care, as the family said on a GoFundMe page set up to cover his medical expenses.
“Our miracle child Landen is showing real signs or recovery. New test results have been positive, though he remains in intensive care with a long road ahead.”
Now that a few weeks have passed since this crime, Landen is still on the mend. He is now out of intensive care and is “alert and conscious,” as his family describes it. He apparently suffered no permanent damage in the assault. Meanwhile, the GoFundMe page set up for his expenses has, as of this writing, raised over a million dollars.
“Many people who fall from that distance aren’t as lucky to make it. He has many surgeries ahead in his life to try to get back to a normal life for a young, vibrant boy.”
Mall of America balcony throw victim Landen Hoffman wakes up https://t.co/pKO5EVGLSc— Joan kulling (@KullingJoan) May 14, 2019
As for Aranda, he allegedly told police he was driven to rage after years of being rejected by women. He apparently chose the Mall of America, and Landen, completely at random.
Meanwhile, according to The Toronto Star, he had been banned from the Mall twice for inappropriate behavior and had even been ordered to undergo psychological counseling.
He was initially charged with aggravated attempted murder. However, his guilty plea this week was the result of a plea bargain which removed the aggravated circumstances from the charges against him. Those would have added a year to his final sentence.
In entering a guilty plea on behalf of his client, Aranda’s attorney, Paul Sellers, said that Aranda was competent enough to understand the ramifications of his guilty plea.
“He is competent, clearly. I wouldn’t be able to go forward with the plea if he wasn’t competent.”
Aranda faces up to 19 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 3.