Emmanuel Aranda, 24, is now charged with first-degree attempted murder after he threw a five-year-old boy off of the third floor of Mall of America. He is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon where the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office will be seeking  $2 million bail, according to MPR News.  See the full article at:

Emmanuel allegedly told police that he had frequented for years and tried to flirt with women but they rejected him. This caused him to lash out. Prosecutors state that he first arrived at the mall on Thursday to kill an adult, but it “did not work out.” So he returned Friday and approached the boy and his mother, standing very close to them. When the mother asked if they should move he grabbed the boy and threw him over the third-floor railing.

Attempted 1st Degree Murder

Under Minnesota law, a person is guilty of an “attempt” to commit a crime when, with intent to commit the crime, the person does an act that is a substantial step toward, and more than mere preparation for, the commission of the crime.  In this instance the intended crime of 1st Degree Murder, is committed when a person causes the death of another with premeditation and with the intent (to effect the death of) (to kill) the person.

In short, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office will need to prove that the man planned or prepared to kill a person and that by throwing the boy over the railing he either acted with the purpose of killing the boy or at least believed that his act would cause death.  Further, because this is charged as an attempt the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office does not need to prove that the boy was in fact killed.  As we all know the boy is alive and currently in critical condition.  Rather, with an attempt they only need to prove that the man’s actions were a substantial step toward accomplishing 1st Degree Murder.

Insanity Defense?

Obviously, the case against this man is far to early in the process to know if this type of defense is applicable.  In Minnesota this is properly referred to as a defense of mental illness or cognitive impairment.  This means that a person is not criminally liable for an act when, at the time of committing the act, the person did not know the nature of the act, or did not know that it was wrong, because of a defect of reason caused by a mental illness or cognitive impairment.  This is an “affirmative defense” which means the Defendant has the burden to prove that they are not criminal liable due to a mental illness or cognitive impairment.  If the Defendant can show that it is more likely than not (roughly 51%) that this defense is applicable then he cannot be held liable for his actions.  The insanity defense is one of the most complex and difficult to prove at a trial.

Possible Sentence Prison Sentence

If the man pleads guilty or is convicted at trial, he can face a lengthy prison sentence.  1st Degree Murder carries a sentence of life imprisonment.  Minnesota does not have the death penalty.  However, because this is an “attempt” the statutory maximum penalty the man will face is 20-years imprisonment.  Under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, the man is looking at a sentence anywhere between 15-20 years depending on his prior criminal history and whether there are any aggravating factors given the nature of the offense and age of the victim.

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