MURRAY, Utah, (UPI) — A juvenile court in Utah charged a 17-year-old boy with third-degree felony homicide by assault after he allegedly fatally punched a soccer referee in the head.
Ricardo Portillo, 46, died Saturday night at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray after spending a week in a coma allegedly brought on by the teen’s punch to his head. The teen’s name has not been reported because he is a minor.
The incident leading to Portillo being hospitalized happened April 27 at a youth soccer game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorville, police said.
During the game, Portillo issued a yellow warning flag to the goalie for pushing an opponent. The 17-year-old goalie then allegedly punched Portillo in the head.
After being punched, Portillo began to feel dizzy, and sat down on the ground and started vomiting blood, a police report said.
The teen who allegedly struck Portillo was arrested at the scene and was being held at a juvenile detention facility, police said.
Prosecutors are seeking to have the teen’s case moved to adult court, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.
Under Utah law, a minor above the age of 14 may be tried as an adult, the newspaper said.
“We’re trying to balance between a youth who is close to being 18 with the amount of harm that has been caused,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. “You want to balance the status of that youth with the harm that has been caused and the loss that has been suffered by this community.”
The teen’s charge is punishable by up to five years in prison if he is tried as an adult. If he is tried as a juvenile, he could remain in detention until he is 21 years old, the newspaper said.