Mall of America stabbing 'changed my whole life,' victim says

Mahad Abdiraham was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison on Friday.
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What's happened?

Mahad Abdiraham, the 20 year old who carried out a double stabbing at the Mall of America Macy's in November, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

During a court hearing on Friday, his two victims – brothers Alex and John Sanchez – described the impact the horrific ordeal has had on them.

The Sanchez brothers were with other family members for their Sunday evening tradition of visiting the MOA to shop, eat or see a movie.

On Nov. 12, Alex Sanchez needed to buy pants, with his family joining him in Macy's. When he emerged from the dressing room, Abdiraham confronted him, and proceeded to go on a stabbing frenzy.

What did they say?

Alex Sanchez, who was 19 at the time of the assault, told the court via the Hennepin County Attorney's victim advocate "this ordeal has changed my whole life."

He was seriously injured in the attack, with one stab wound in the arm going through to the bone, making it difficult for him to life things, and he also received several stab wounds in the face.

“The scars on my face and my upper torso are so visible and people stare at me and I wonder what they think about me,” he wrote. “Without my dad, my brother and my cousin, I don’t think I would be alive today.”

Although he made no mention of it after the initial arrest, Abdiraham said while entering his guilty plea that he was "answering the call of Jihad" and the "no one in America will be safe."

“He wants to eliminate innocent Americans for a stupid belief,” Alex Sanchez said in his statement.

His brother John, who ran to his aid along with their father and a cousin, said his injuries have made life a "daily struggle" as they've both been able to work since the attack.

He also said his 5 year old son is now scared of going to the mall after witnessing the violence, and said he wants justice for what he calls "a terror attack."

“There has been statements that he was told by Allah to do this,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “It doesn’t matter to us what deity you believe in or no deity at all, if you seriously injure someone, we will prosecute you and, if successful, seek a long prison term." 

Abdiraham did not speak during the sentencing hearing.

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