Associated Press and Daily Mail, May 14, 2019
A Minneapolis man pleaded guilty this morning to throwing five-year-old Landen Hoffman from a third-floor balcony at Mall of America last month and faces 19 years in prison.
Emmanuel Aranda on Tuesday accepted responsibility for attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the April 12 attack that left Landen with head trauma and multiple broken bones but survived.
Aranda, 24, will be sentenced on June 3. His plea deal calls for prosecutors to drop an aggravated-circumstances component to the charge that could have meant an additional year in prison.
Police arrested Aranda moments after the attack as he waited to board a light-rail train at the mall, and said he had quickly admitted to the attack.
A criminal complaint filed soon after the attack said Aranda told police he was angry at being rejected by women at the mall and was ‘looking for someone to kill’ when he went there.
Aranda allegedly said he ‘planned to kill an adult, because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the victim instead.’
He had two past convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, and had been banned from the property at one point.
When asked if he knew that throwing the boy over the balcony could have killed him, the defendant replied, ‘Yes.’
Hoffman plunged almost 40 feet and suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones.
A fundraising page has topped $1million to cover the young boy’s medical costs.