Man accused of throwing child from Mall balcony pleads guilty

He'll go to jail for 19 years; sentencing on June 3

WCCO Radio Newsroom
May 14, 2019 - 4:50 am

Bloomington Police


A man accused of throwing a five-year-old boy from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America Tuesday pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted first-degree premeditated murder.

In pleading guilty during a hearing in Hennepin County court, 24-year-old Emmanuel Aranda agreed to a 19-year prison sentence. 

UPDATECounty Attorney’s Office defends plea deal given to man who threw child from Mall of America balcony

This comes one month and two days after the boy suffered serious injuries in the forty-foot fall from the mall's balcony.  

Aranda reportedly told investigators he went to the mall looking for someone to kill, and chose the boy at random.  

Following the hearing, Aranda's mother said her son was mentally ill and needed help instead of prison time.

"He don't belong in jail, he needs mental help," said Becky Aranda, who told reporters her son has had a mental illness condition since he was young. "He's really sick. We had no idea his illness would drive him to doing this."

She also said the family hasn't been able to see Aranda since his arrest, and that he told officials that he didn't want to see them.

"There's nothing else we can do about this," said Becky Aranda, adding that her son has refused to sign a consent form that would release his mental health records.

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A GoFundMe page for the boy, who's been identified as Landon, has surpassed more than $1 million from nearly 30,000 donations.  

The page also has a statement from Landon's family on the boy's progress:

           "As hearings begin this week, the family would like to inform media that they will not be providing commentary on any court proceedings. The child continues to heal and the family asks for continued prayers and privacy. In addition, the family has retained the communications firm Tunheim in order to help respond to media requests."

Aranda remains in custody on $2 million bail.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 3.


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