The man who pleaded guilty to throwing a young boy from the third floor at Mall of America was sentenced to 228 months, or 19 years, in prison.
Emmanuel Aranda told investigators he went to the mall looking for someone to kill and randomly targeted Landen who was there with his mom and friends. Aranda threw Landen over the third floor balcony causing him to fall nearly 40 feet to the ground floor.
Amazingly, the boy survived. A few weeks ago, the boy's family said he needed additional procedures for some non-life threatening complications from his injuries. They say his spirit is strong, but he still has a long road ahead.
During the sentencing Monday, prosecutors read the victim impact statements written by the boy's mother and father.
Full statement from Landen's mother:
You intended to harm him, but God intended it for good! To accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
You chose to think about yourself that day, what you were feeling and wanted to do to someone else. I’m sad you chose anger and hatred. Something really bad must have happened to you for you to want to do this to a sweet, innocent little boy. I’m sorry for whatever you’ve gone through. I hope God can save you and show you what His love is all about someday….
I want you to know I forgive you. Not because what you did was okay, not because I want to; but [because] God wants me to. I’m not letting you take any part of our family. You’re not taking our love, ourjoy, our peace; you’re not taking anything! I refuse to be full of anger and hatred, I refuse to let you take my joy. My sweet, precious baby, my amazing gift from God is going to be okay because Jesus loves him so much and he loves me so much. He answered my prayers and gave him back to me.
You get to take nothing from us. You chose to listen to the Devil that day. I don’t get to judge you or hate you. Instead I am full of God’s love and I have overwhelming joy and peace in my body as I sit and watch my boy heal in miraculous ways right in from of my eyes.
The whole world is seeing God move in this little boy that I get to call mine. The Devil tried to take him out, but GOD Saves. God ALWAYS wins!
God will judge you someday and I have peace with that. I hand it off to him and you will take none of my thoughts EVER again, I am done with you. God, it is all in your hands.
Statement from Landen's father:
On what was a normal day for us a day of fun and playing a day meant for good you chose to commit a horrific violent act, an act intended for harm and act intended to kill and destroy. Thankfully our family serves a mighty God who is faithful to his people a God who intends to protect and save. A God who’s will is perfect and makes all things work for the good of those that love him. You intended evil that day but God works all for good. Landen, who was a nameless child to you, is not a name forgotten or unknown to God. Landen is a witness to God’s divine interaction in our lives for all the world to see. Our boy was saved that day in a miraculous ways as testimony to the goodness and greatness of God, and because of that miracle God is being glorified and his name is being magnified through out the earth.
Your act was evil and selfish, you chose to listen to the worst parts of yourself that day. You chose evil over good and chose to take your hate and hurt out on my precious boy. That is where your impact on us stops, you will take nothing more from us. Wel will continue to Love and serve our God, we will continue to love people and have joy and peace in our lives, you will not define our lives or our hearts. We will live our lives to the fullest filled with fun and joy. You chose to waste your life and I wish you could experience the pain and suffering you inflicted on my boy, you should have the maximum punishment that this life has for you so you understand the impact of your actions.
I do want you to know that I forgive you, because it is what God calls me to do and holding hate only harms me and I will not allow that and while I want the maximum punishment for you in this life I do want you to know that there is a God who does love you and seeks to save you. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This is the grace that our merciful, loving, and forgiving God offers you. This is the path to eternal redemption for you bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus, and he is greater than any evil you have committed I pray you call on his name so that you will be saved.