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
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)
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(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.

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