Teen charged with homicide by assault in death of soccer referee

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TAYLORSVILLE — A 17-year-old accused of punching a soccer referee, causing his death, was charged with homicide by assault, a third-degree felony, in juvenile court Wednesday.

But Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said his office will seek to have Jose Domingo Teran, of Salt Lake City, certified as an adult.

Ricardo Portillo, 46, was refereeing a youth soccer match at Eisenhower Junior High School, 4351 S. Redwood Road, on April 27 when he called a foul against Teran, a 17-year-old goalie. After issuing the goalie a yellow card, the teen responded by punching Portillo "in the rear jaw area with a closed fist," according to court documents.

Witnesses told police Portillo was struck in the face as he was writing notes about the yellow card he had just issued.

Doctors at Intermountain Medical Center later told investigators that Portillo suffered a traumatic brain injury, court records state.

Portillo remained in a coma for a week before he died. An autopsy determined he died "as a result of injuries related to the blow to his head," according to court records.

Gill said the case does not rise to the level of aggravated murder or manslaughter. But a charge of homicide by assault can be filed when a person "causes the death of another while intentionally or knowingly" trying to injure another person.

Teran will turn 18 in October. He was being held in juvenile detention Wednesday on $100,000 bail. An initial appearance in juvenile court is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The teen will now go through a certification hearing in juvenile court to determine if he will be moved into the adult system. Part of that process will include looking into Teran's delinquency history, educational history and a psychological evaluation.

Some of the reasons the district attorney's office is seeking adult certification is because the likelihood of rehabilitation "is minimal," the juvenile is of "sufficient maturity," and "the nature of the offenses requires isolation of the juvenile beyond what is afforded by juvenile facilities," according to court documents.


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Pat Reavy


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