Teen Who Fatally Punched Ref Charged With Homicide

District attorney wants to try him as an adult

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 9, 2013 8:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Family and friends honored the memory of Utah soccer referee Ricardo Portillo at an emotional funeral service yesterday just hours after the teenager who punched him before he fell into a coma was charged with homicide by assault. The charge, issued when an attack unintentionally causes death, is less serious than manslaughter. It carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison for adults, but penalties can be less for juveniles.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said he will seek to try the teen, whose name is being withheld by the AP because he's a minor, as an adult. Gill said it became clear in looking at the facts that the teenager's actions didn't amount to murder or manslaughter. But the fact that the teenager will soon turn 18, combined with the seriousness of what happened, led Gill to push to have him tried as an adult. The chance of the teen's rehabilitation is minimal, prosecutors said in court documents. However, police reports and court documents paint a picture of a young man who appears to have made a fatally flawed decision in the heat of the moment.

FILE - In this May 2, 2013, file photo, Johana Portillo, center, and her sister Ana Portillo hold hands while Dr. Shawn Smith looks on during a news conference at Intermountain Medical Center, in Murray, Utah. A Utah prosecutor said Monday, May 6, he plans to decide soon what charges...
FILE - In this May 2, 2013, file photo, Johana Portillo, center, and her sister Ana Portillo hold hands while Dr. Shawn Smith looks on during a news conference at Intermountain Medical Center, in Murray,...   (Rick Bowmer)
Mourners carry the casket of Ricardo Portillo along a street following a public wake to the funeral service at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in Salt Lake City. People attend a funeral services to honor a Utah soccer referee who was punched by a player and...
Mourners carry the casket of Ricardo Portillo along a street following a public wake to the funeral service at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in Salt Lake City. People attend a funeral...   (Rick Bowmer)
Friends and family hold signs and candles during a news conference to talk about the death of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May...
Friends and family hold signs and candles during a news conference to talk about the death of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer...   (Kim Raff)
Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, becomes emotional as she speaks about her father's death during a press conference in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May...
Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, becomes emotional as...   (Kim Raff)
FILE - In this May 2, 2013, file photo, Jose Lopez points to an undated photo of Ricardo Portillo, center, his brother-in-law, following a news conference at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah. A Utah prosecutor said Monday, May 6, he plans to decide soon what charges to file against...
FILE - In this May 2, 2013, file photo, Jose Lopez points to an undated photo of Ricardo Portillo, center, his brother-in-law, following a news conference at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah....   (Rick Bowmer)
Mouners carry the casket of Ricardo Portillo along a street following a public wake to the funeral service.
Mouners carry the casket of Ricardo Portillo along a street following a public wake to the funeral service.   (Rick Bowmer)
Alex Flores, left, and Silvia Castro place candles at a vigil for Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 5, 2013.
Alex Flores, left, and Silvia Castro place candles at a vigil for Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on...   (Kim Raff)
Friends and family visit a vigil set up for Ricardo Portillo in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 5, 2013. Police have accused a 17-year-old player in an April 27 recreational soccer league game of punching Portillo after he called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card....
Friends and family visit a vigil set up for Ricardo Portillo in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 5, 2013. Police have accused a 17-year-old player in an April 27 recreational soccer league game of punching...   (Kim Raff)
Antonio Lopez, from left, with Juan Munoz, and Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo, who died after injuries following an assault by a soccer player on April 27, becomes emotional after a news conference discussing Portillo's death, Sunday, May 5, 2013, in Salt Lake City. Police have accused a 17-year-old...
Antonio Lopez, from left, with Juan Munoz, and Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo, who died after injuries following an assault by a soccer player on April 27, becomes emotional after...   (Kim Raff)
A mourner light candles at a makeshift memorial before a news conference by the family to discuss the death of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, in Salt Lake City...
A mourner light candles at a makeshift memorial before a news conference by the family to discuss the death of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer...   (Kim Raff)
FILE - In this May 5, 2013, file photo, Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo speaks about her father's death during a news conference in Salt Lake City. A Utah prosecutor said Monday, May 6, he plans to decide soon what charges to file against a teenager accused of punching...
FILE - In this May 5, 2013, file photo, Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo speaks about her father's death during a news conference in Salt Lake City. A Utah prosecutor said Monday, May...   (Kim Raff)
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