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The man who is accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy off of a balcony in the Mall of America has pleaded guilty. He will now face up to 19 years in prison, according to the terms of his plea deal.
On April 12, 24-year-old Emmanuel Aranda entered the Mall of America. He would later tell police that he had gone to the mall to find someone to kill. He would later tell investigators that he was angry because he “had made efforts to talk to women in the Mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and to be aggressive.”
Initially, he had planned to throw an adult over the balcony, but for some reason decided to attack 5-year-old Landen Hoffmann instead. The boy was with his mother at the time, according to the Star Tribune, standing outside of the Rainforest Cafe restaurant.
Hoffman fell over 40 feet. He suffered significant injuries, but managed to survive. Miraculously, scans found “zero evidence of brain damage” according to an announcement by the family’s pastor.
On Tuesday, Aranda pleaded guilty on one count of attempted first-degree murder. He answered in the affirmative when his attorney during the hearing asked him if he had thrown Hoffman over the balcony “with the intent of killing that child.”
When Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Cheri Townsend asked him to clarify that he “didn’t just drop him, but you threw him over the railing, correct?” Aranda admitted that this was accurate.
This isn’t the first time that Aranda was arrested inside the Mall of America. In 2015, he was ordered by police to not return to the mall for a year after he was caught throwing things from the upper level. He violated this order two weeks later when he returned to panhandle.