On Monday, the man who pleaded guilty to throwing a 5-year-old boy off a third-story balcony at the Mall of America was sentenced to 19 years in prison. Emmanuel Aranda stood in court listening to victim’s impact statements being read by a prosecutors, tears welling in his eyes. Minnesota law mandates that he serve 12 years of the 19-year sentence, with 53 days off for time served. When given the opportunity to make a statement or apologize to the family of his victim, Aranda said nothing.
24-year-old Aranda pleaded guilty to first degree attempted murder in the case, in exchange for an agreed-upon sentence of 19 years. In the criminal complaint, investigators said Aranda approached the boy at random at the Mall of America on April 12, picked him up, and threw him over the railing. He then ran from the scene, pushing a witness who attempted to stop him, according to the charges. The boy, known to the public as Landen, fell 40 feet. He suffered severe head trauma and multiple broken bones.
A GoFundMe set up for Landen surpassed $1 million, with donations from more than 28,000 people. Landen’s family offered an update on GoFundMe on May 24, saying that he needs further procedures that are “non-life threatening complications.” The family’s post said Landen is recovering and his spirit is strong, but there is still a long road of recovery ahead.
Editorial credit: legenda / Shutterstock.com