MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Contributions of money and stuffed toys captured the public's outrage and sorrow. It came after a Woodbury family's trip to the Mall of America was ended by a stranger's unimaginable anger.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney, Cheri Townsend, read from impact statements written by the child's parents. The boy's father told him, "your act was evil and selfish. You chose to listen to the worst part of yourself that day."
On April 12, Emmanuel Aranda said he went to the mall intent on killing someone. According to the criminal complaint, he told investigators that he was angry for the way women at the mall rebuffed his attempt to talk.
Unable to find an adult victim, he chose instead to grab the 5-year-old boy named Landen and throw him over a third floor railing, 40 feet to the concrete floor below.
The child suffered numerous broken bones, head trauma and severe bleeding. Paramedics revived the child and rushed him to Children's Hospital where he continues to recover.
"There are few things more difficult to imagine than being the victim or witness to horrific acts of the defendant on April 12, 2019," Townsend said.
Before he was sentenced for pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder, Aranda stood to hear the impact statements of the parents.
"We will live our lives to the fullest filled with joy and fun and you chose to waste your life. We wish you could experience the pain and suffering that you inflicted on my boy," Landen's mother wrote.
Judge Jeannice Reding honored the plea agreement and sentenced Aranda to a 19-year sentence.
When asked if he had anything he'd like to say in court, Aranda simply answered, "no."
Aranda's mother Becky said her son has fought mental illness since he was three years old and had hoped for a continuance to allow more time for the court to access medical records.
Becky Aranda told reporters following sentencing, "he would be fine a month or so at a time and then all of a sudden out of the blue it would kick in out of nowhere."
Prosecutors say Aranda understood his act was both deliberate and wrong. For that, he'll spend at least 12 and a half years behind bars.
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