MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The man who pleaded guilty to throwing a boy off a balcony at the Mall of America was sentenced Monday to 19 years in prison.
Twenty-four-year-old Emmanuel Aranda pleaded guilty last month to one count of attempted premeditated murder for throwing a 5-year-old boy off a third-floor balcony on April 14 in the Bloomington mall’s rotunda.
The boy survived the 39-foot fall but suffered significant head trauma and broken bones. According to the family, his recovery has been slow, with several procedures in the weeks since the assault.
During the sentencing Monday morning, victim impact statements from the boy’s parents were read in court. Both said they had forgiven Aranda, but said that God would judge him.
“Your act was evil and selfish,” the boy’s father wrote. “You chose to listen to the worst parts of yourself that day…You will take nothing more from us.”
Aranda chose not to say any before the judge gave his sentence.
In an interview with police after he was arrested, Aranda told investigators that he went to the mall on April 14 with the intention of killing an adult. Instead, he chose to throw the boy off the balcony.
His mother, Becky Aranda, told reporters after the sentencing that her son is mentally ill and doesn’t belong in prison.
The court, however, found that by his reaction to run from the scene and his behavior during the investigation that Aranda was competent enough to know what he did was wrong.
As part of his plea agreement, Aranda could be released from prison in 12 years for good behavior.