A 17-year-old soccer play from Salt Lake City, Utah, whose name has been withheld because he is a minor, has pleaded guilty to homicide by assault in the death of Ricardo Portillo, a 46-year-old soccer referee.
The teen punched Portillo in head on April 27th after he called a foul on him. The boy and his father left the field right after the incident without knowing the condition of the referee and despite being told to stay. After spending a week in a coma, the father of three died from the injury.
“I was frustrated at the ref and caused his death,” the teenager said, speaking softly.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors ironed out a plea deal just as Judge Kimbery Hornak planned to hear arguments from both sides as to whether to charge the teen as an adult.
As a condition of the plea Judge Hornak ordered that 17-year-old keep a picture of Portillo in his cell and write his daughters weekly as a reminder of the pain he’s caused. His mother issued a tearful apology to the family of the victim saying that her son was a good child and hadn’t been in any trouble prior to the altercation.
One life has been lost and several lives will never be the same due to a violent impulsive reaction during a soccer game. Just think of how things would’ve been different if the boy had taken a moment to breathe. I always question the root of behavior like this. It’s usually learned. Maybe his parents need to keep a picture of Ricardo Portillo and his family in their home as a reminder as well.