SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah teen accused of punching a soccer referee who later died was charged Wednesday with homicide by assault, a count issued when an attack unintentionally causes death.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced the charges, saying he will seek to try the teen as an adult.
A homicide by assault charge is less serious than manslaughter. It carries up to five years in prison for adults, but penalties can be less for juveniles.
Gill said it became clear in looking at the facts that the teenager’s actions didn’t warrant murder or manslaughter.
“We did not believe we could demonstrate the premeditation or intent to justify those charges,” Gill told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “Those other charges require another type of mental state. We did not believe that type of mental state was present.”
The 17-year-old has been in juvenile detention since April 27 when the incident occurred at a recreational-league soccer match in a Salt Lake City suburb.
Authorities say the teenager was playing goalie when 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo called a penalty on him for pushing an opposing player. The teenager began arguing with Portillo and then struck him in the head.
Charging documents show witnesses say the teenager threw one punch, hitting him in the rear jaw area with a closed fist. Another witness said Portillo was writing notes on his notepad when he was hit.
Portillo was taken to the hospital in fair condition. Hours later, he went into a coma. He never regained consciousness and died Saturday.
Police say hospital staff told them Portillo had hemorrhaging and a traumatic brain injury.
The fact that the teenager is five months away from turning 18, combined with the seriousness of what happened, led Gill to push to have him tried as an adult. A juvenile court judge will ultimately rule on that request.
The chance of the teen’s rehabilitation is minimal, prosecutors said in court documents.
League officials say they hadn’t had any problems with the teenager prior to this incident.
Funeral services are being held Wednesday in Salt Lake City for Portillo, who leaves behind three daughters and four grandchildren.
A wake is scheduled to run from 1 to 7 p.m., followed by a religious service. Both are open to the public.
After the funeral, Portillo’s remains will be returned to his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. He moved to Utah from there 17 years ago.
Family members said Portillo loved soccer, and had been working as a referee in different leagues for eight years. His oldest daughter, Johana Portillo, said he had been attacked before by players, even having his legs and ribs broken. Though his daughters begged him to quit, he said he couldn’t give up his passion.
Portillo was a longtime referee, be he was not licensed by the Utah Soccer Referee Committee.
The incident occurred in a game held by La Liga Continental de Futbol, an unaffiliated soccer league created in 2009. The league holds games for children ages 4 to 17 each Saturday at a junior high school field in Taylorsville.
The league president, Mario Vasquez, said earlier this week that the league will hold an adult, co-ed soccer tournament in Portillo’s honor May 25-26. The funds will go to his family.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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