Deal reached in hearing for teen charged in soccer ref’s death

Posted at 7:58 PM, Aug 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-02 22:02:49-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawyers for a teen charged in connection with the death of a soccer referee have struck a deal with prosecutors on the eve of a certification hearing.

“The defense has stipulated that there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed and the defendant committed it,” read minutes from a hearing in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Juvenile Court released late Friday.

A juvenile court judge was scheduled to hold a hearing on Monday, but with the stipulation the judge will only have to determine — behind closed doors — if the 17-year-old should be tried as an adult on a charge of homicide by assault, a third-degree felony.

Monday’s hearing would have had another unique factor to it — a FOX 13 News camera would have been in the courtroom to record some of the proceedings. Judge Kimberly Hornak approved the request for a television camera in the courtroom, with the requirement that the teen’s name and image not be released.

The teen is accused of punching Ricardo Portillo over a “yellow card” he issued during a game back in May. Portillo slipped into a coma and died days later.

If he is certified as an adult, the teen could face up to five years in prison. If he remains in the juvenile court system, he could be face detention until he is 21.