Mall attacker gets 19 years for throwing boy over railing
The "evil and selfish" Minneapolis man who threw a child over a third-floor railing at the Mall of America was sentenced to 19 years in prison on Monday.
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, looked straight ahead or down throughout most of the short sentencing hearing and declined to address the court when Hennepin County District Judge Jeannice Reding offered him that opportunity.
Aranda approached the youngster at random, picked him up and hurled him over a third-floor railing before fleeing the scene, authorities said. He was captured aboard a light rail train.
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The boy and his parents did not appear in court on Monday, but offered statements, read in court by prosecutor Cheri Townsend.
"Your act was evil and selfish. You chose to listen to the worst parts of yourself that day," the dad said in his statement. "That is where your impact on us stops. You will take nothing more from us."
Both parents cited their religious faith in helping them through the horrific assault.
"God will judge you someday and I have peace with that," according to the mother's statement. "I hand it off to him and you will take none of my thoughts ever again. I am done with you."
The boy, named Landen from Woodbury, Minnesota, fell 40 feet and suffered severe head trauma and multiple broken bones.
The family gave on update on May 24, saying Landen has recently been fighting "non-life threatening complications from his injuries which have required additional procedures to correct."
"He is recovering, and his spirit is strong — but there is still a long road ahead," according to the family statement.
Aranda's family has said he suffers from mental illness.
In the plea bargain formally approved on Monday by Reding, prosecutors dropped an aggravated-circumstances component to the charge that could have meant an additional year in prison.
With good behavior and time already served in jail, Aranda is eligible for parole in 12 years.