A man who was arrested for throwing a young boy over the third-floor railing at the Mall of America on April 12 was given a 19-year prison sentence. The suspect, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, reportedly told police that he showed up to the shopping center “looking for someone to kill” on April 12.
According to NBC News, the 24-year-old defendant looked straight ahead or down during his sentencing hearing on Monday. When given the chance by Hennepin County District Judge Jeannice Reding to address the court, Aranda declined. The Minneapolis man was facing a charge of premeditated first-degree murder for the horrendous act; he pleaded guilty to the charge last month.
Aranda was arrested after attacking the boy, who authorities say he picked at random. He fled the scene of the attack but was arrested shortly thereafter while on board a light rail train. The attacker’s family said he suffers from mental illness.
The 5-year-old boy, named Landon, miraculously survived the 40-foot fall, suffering broken bones and head trauma. A May 24 statement from the boy’s family on the status of his health said he was dealing with “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.”
Neither the boy nor his parents appeared at the sentencing hearing, but statements from the family were delivered by prosecutor Cheri Townsend.
Man who threw 5-year-old boy over Mall of America balcony sentenced to 19 years in prison
Emmanuel Aranda, 24, who admitted to throwing a little boy from the 3rd floor balcony at the Mall of America in June, was “looking for someone to kill.” https://t.co/CibomVy2d5
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 3, 2019
“Your act was evil and selfish. You chose to listen to the worst parts of yourself that day,” the boy’s father wrote. “That is where your impact on us stops. You will take nothing more from us.”
The victim’s parents credit their faith for helping them through the traumatic assault and recovery.
“God will judge you someday and I have peace with that,” the boy’s mother said in a statement. “I hand it off to him and you will take none of my thoughts ever again. I am done with you.”
According to CBS News, a GoFundMe fundraiser called “Prayers for Landon,” was a success, raising over $1 million by mid-May from more than 28,000 donors. It was created to help the family pay for extensive surgeries and the rehab that will follow.
As part of a plea bargain, prosecutors tossed out an aggravated-circumstances component to the charge that could have added another year onto Aranda’s sentence. Aranda won’t be eligible for parole for 12 years, based on time served and if his time in prison includes good behavior.