A man who confessed to trying to kill a 5-year-old boy by throwing him off a balcony at the Mall of America will spend 19 years in prison after being sentenced Monday.
Last month, 24-year-old Emanuel Aranda pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder when facing charges relating to the incident in Bloomfield, Minnesota.
On Monday, NBC reported that he received a 19-year prison sentence at a hearing in which he looked straight ahead or down and declined to address the court.
In April, the nation reacted in horror to the initial news that 5-year-old Landen Hoffmann of Woodbury, Minnesota, had fallen more than 40 feet after being thrown from a third-floor balcony at the world famous shopping center.
Shortly after the horrific attack, Aranda admitted to law enforcement that he had gone to the mall that day in search of someone to kill because of his repeated romantic failures with women. He said he wanted to kill an adult that day, but his initial plan didn’t work out.
A witness at the scene recalled Hoffman’s mother screaming, “Everybody pray, everybody pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge.” A GoFundMe page was later started to support the parents.
Those prayers were answered days later when it was revealed that Landen had “zero evidence of brain damage” after the barbaric attack.
“No spinal cord injury, no nerve damage, no internal injuries that were life-threatening,” the family’s pastor told a cheering congregation at their church just over a week after the incident.
Days after the initial good news about the lack of brain or nerve damage, Landen was awake and alert again, his family reported.
“All praise, glory and honor to God! He saved our son’s life and is healing him in the most miraculous ways,” read an update on the family’s GoFundMe page. “We are so elated to let you know that our son is now alert and conscious and is no longer in critical condition!”
Landen’s parents were not present at Monday’s sentencing hearing, but instead provided victim impact statements that were read for the court by an attorney.
“I want you to know I forgive you,” a statement from the victim’s mother said. “Not because what you did was okay, not because I want to; but [because] God wants me to.”
“You chose to listen to the Devil that day,” the mother’s statement concluded. “I don’t get to judge you or hate you. Instead I am full of God’s love and I have overwhelming joy and peace in my body as I sit and watch my boy heal in miraculous ways right in from of my eyes.”