Man pleads guilty to throwing 5-year-old boy from mall balcony
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 it. 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, a criminal complaint said.
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 Aranda was ordered to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment after those assaults, and his attorney Paul Sellers said he had been in mental health court.
Aranda, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, spoke quietly during a hearing Tuesday while giving yes-or-no answers to questions aimed at making sure he understood what he was admitting.
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.
A GoFundMe page set up for the family well surpassed its $1 million goal, with contributions from more than 28,000 people totaling $1,022,404 in mid-May. The page says the boy was enjoying a day at the mall with his mom and friend “when a stranger maliciously grabbed him and threw him over the 3rd floor balcony for no apparent reason.”
“The family doesn’t know him and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence,” it added.
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