Salt Lake DA Files Homicide by Assault Charge in Death of Soccer Referee

(KCPW News) The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office filed Homicide by Assault Charges against a Salt Lake teenager on Wednesday for his role in the death of recreational league soccer referee Ricardo Portillo.

District Attorney Sim Gill said that the choice of charges had to do with the teenage suspect’s intent.

“Based on the evidence that was available to us, nobody was intending to kill anyone and so murder charges did not fit, manslaughter charges did not fit,” Gill said. “This is Homicide by Assault because [the suspect] didn’t realize that his actions would result in this death.”

The teenager struck Portillo in the head during a soccer game on April 27th after the referee called a penalty on him. Officials are not releasing the name of the suspect, because he is a minor.

Gill said that his office is also seeking to have the 17-year-old certified as an adult and tried in criminal court instead of juvenile court.

“Given the severity of what had happened, and the suspect’s relative closeness to the age of 18, we felt that the measure of justice that needs to be exacted here will be better served in the adult system,” Gill said.

Gill extended his condolences to Portillo’s family, and added that he was also sympathetic to the plight of the suspect’s family.

“[The teenager] made a tragic mistake,” Gill said.

Portillo was taken to the hospital after the incident and later slipped into a coma. He died on Saturday.

A memorial service and wake were held at the Rail Event Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.