A 17-year-old Utah boy pleaded guilty to a charge of homicide by assault Monday in a case that has many questioning the presence of violence in sports. The incident comes soon after another unbelievable sports-related event, during which a Brazilian referee was decapitated.
46-year-old Ricardo Portillo was punched in the head by the youth during a soccer game in April. Portillo had called a foul against the boy.
Portillo died after spending a week in a coma. He left behind three daughters. The teen, speaking in a soft voice, told the court, “I was frustrated at the ref and caused his death.”
The teen’s defense and prosecutors reached a plea deal as the judge was preparing to hear arguments regarding whether or not the youth was to be tried as an adult. According to the deal, the case will remain in juvenile court.
Prosecutors had sought to have the teen tried as an adult given the seriousness of the incident. They also claimed that the teen and his family are a flight risk when the defense sought to have him released while awaiting trial.
While the teen and his father fled the scene following the incident, he did later turn himself in to authorities. It is unquestionable that the boy caused Portillo’s death, only what his punishment will be.