Man pleads guilty in Mall of America attack against boy, faces 19 years

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MINNEAPOLIS — A man who reportedly told investigators that he went to the Mall of America "looking for someone to kill" pleaded guilty Tuesday to throwing a 5-year-old boy from a third-floor balcony and faces 19 years in prison.

Emmanuel Aranda, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty to attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the April 12 attack. The child suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones but survived.

Aranda, 24, will be sentenced 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. Prosecutor Cheri Ann Townsend said the boy's family supports the plea deal.

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.

He had two past convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, and had been banned from the property at one point. Court records showed that Aranda had been ordered to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment after those assaults, and his attorney Paul Sellers said Aranda had been in mental health court.

Aranda, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, spoke quietly during Tuesday's hearing while giving yes-or-no answers to questions aimed at making sure he understood what he was admitting.

The child plunged almost 40 feet and suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones. His family released a statement in late April saying he was alert and no longer in critical condition. On Monday, the family said he continues to heal.

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