Comments about ‘Teen goalie charged with homicide by assault in death of referee’

Return to article »

Prosecutors will seek to certify 17-year-old as an adult

Published: Wednesday, May 8 2013 1:10 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Denver, CO

Good! Teach this kid a lesson. Hopefully this teaches all parents, kids, etc., to keep cool and just remember it's just a game while playing or at a game.

Somewhere in Time, UT

I suspect this kid probably has a history of out-of-control temper problems. This kid is in deep doo doo.

conservative scientist
Lindon, UT

This is a tragic situation. I don't agree with violence in any form and there are likely only very few who really know this child's background, although many posters seem to be expert on the intricacies of his childhood and the nature of his problems - and they are perhaps correct, but may not be as well.

We should all be cautious before we rush to judgement. It is extremely unlikely that he meant to murder someone. Again, violence is never acceptable, but occasionally kids fight and it was likely a terrible accident. It is possible that this may have been a temporary lapse in judgment rather than indicative of his entire character and of his past, present, and future prospects. Justice must certainly be served and I feel awful for the victim and all his family and friends, but I would still rather err on the side of mercy regarding this young man. It is possible that trying this young man as an adult, with all that this implies, could make a terrible situation even worse.

Cache county, USA

Not sure of the details here, but is it safe to say, that parents go way overboard with there children's sports?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

This kid is lucky to not be charged as the murderer he is.

Send him away. Make an example out of him. Let this serve as a deterrent for future bad sportsmanship. Parents and kids, y'all best think twice before lashing out at other referees, umpires, officials, and coaches. To the Latino league, time to clean up your act!

Salt Lake City, UT

Dear conservative scientist,
When you swing at the referee's head you intend to do bodily harm. "Oh, I only meant to break his nose or put out an eye, not kill him." Such distinctions are of little comfort to Mr. Portillo's family.

Kaysville, UT

They didn't say who broke the coaches leg or his ribs earlier, but it sounds as if violence is accepted by the league and parents attending the games.

This was an accident waiting to happen.

Saint Louis, MO

With respect for Ricardo Portillo, who tried to help his community. He did honorable labor at a mattress factory to support a loving family. Very sad result for an honorable man.


This is a terrible tragedy for both families and a 17 year old who has ruined his life in a moment of heated passion. How many of us have done stupid things in our lives, especially as teenagers. The "mob mentality" of "making an example" of him is a little rampant. As Attorney Gill stated, "he didn't intend to kill him". He and his family will pay dearly for the uncontrolled passion of this young man, if through no other ways legal fees and a civil wrongful death suit, not too mention the life-long guilt. Hopefully if you are ever in need of a little mercy and grace, others will be kinder to you, than some of the comments on this board.

Fuaamotu, Tonga

The line between justice and mercy is razor-thin here. While justice for this crime must be satisfied and punishment be meted out without delay, relegating this impulsive youngster over to the adult detention system will only cultivate and harden further criminal tendencies. While his intent was not to kill, that was still his effect. Nobody else forced him to cock his fist back and let it fly. Who goes out drinking, gets sloshed and climbs into a car with the intent to kill? Does that make a resulting death any less impactful just because there is a lack of intention?

No, justice cannot be robbed but the merits of mercy need to be examined, too. A message needs to be sent but at what cost? After having worked in the prison system for over 30 years, I can tell see what the future holds for the boy. When/if he returns to society, he will have the best training available conducive to continued criminality. Thus, we will gleefully throw away two lives for the price of one. Is that really what’s best? I’m glad I’m not the one who has to decide.

Murray, UT

The charges are fair. He needs to serve time in prison for killing another person. My guess is he would serve the entire five years. Do we really want to send people to prison for their entire life; that kill someone in a fistfight? Every man should think about that who has ever been in a fight. What if it was me? Some loudmouth insults your wife/girlfriend you hit and kill them, should you be in prison for the rest of your life? Some guy almost hits your kid in a car, you get mad and hit his roof, he gets out, you hit him and kill him. should you spend the rest of your life in prison. This was a seventeen year old kid that probably was never told that hitting another person could kill them. how many high school kids get in fights? On a football field out of anger? they hit each other all the time. Do you want the law to be that if your high school kid hits another kid on a football field that results in a death that they spend the rest of their life in prison?

Kearns, UT

He'd potentially do more time if they just stuck to Aggravated Assault.

Wasilla, AK

VIDAR: Fistfight? This wasn't a fistfight just a cheap shot by a cowardly individual.

Salt Lake City, UT

Parents who want to win soooooo bad that they yell at the referee over every silly call they disagree with are part of the problem.

This event has been brewing for years. All the silly coaches who have temper tantrums and the parents who don't know the difference between competitive and combative are all part of the problem.

Football parents take good notes because you are heading down the same path.

Time to realize that our kids need love not your pressure to win.

Everyone go look in the mirror and see if you are part of the problem.

Farmington, UT

Real tough, this kid, to hit a defenseless sports official without any indication that he was going to do that.

And yes, VIDAR, your examples are such that indeed, if you can't control yourse3lf and resort to violent acts to get back at someone and they are killed, then you need to pay the penalty. If you hit someone who insults your wife/girl friend then you don't know how to handle the situation. For those types there is room at the prison if the result is another person's death. And rightly so.

A big mouth many times can get you into trouble. (I've known a few immature adults that can't hold their tounge and have had a fist suddenly up-side their head so it does happen, unfortunately.) In this case, a bad temper got the 17-year old into trouble because it resulted in a death. No way can that behavior come even close to being justified in any way.

The soccer league needs to clean house; this behavior is absolutely unacceptable.

Tooele, UT

Re: " It is extremely unlikely that he meant to murder someone."

Yeah -- so who cares?

The facts indicate he clearly intended to deliver a vicious, sucker-punch to someone who wasn't even looking, let alone prepared to guard against it. And that he was motivated by nothing more than a sense of personal pique over a trivial matter.

That's why his actions are so dangerous. And why the law takes his kind of predatory behavior so very seriously.

Nothing short of a long, long jail sentence can send the proper message to this young miscreant, and to others similarly situated -- like the young toughs in the same league who twice previously attacked and inflicted serious injuries on this same ref.


Well, we can detest the act of that young boy, but we have become a nation of Gladiators. This behavior is exhibited in boxing, cage fighting and, yes, going to war against innocent people of another nation. We have taught our kids that if someone does something to them that they don't like, just retaliate, and this is what our children are doing. We are constantly at war with each other, just about every little thing that happens. Can we, or should we, expect any less for our children?

Secondly, I don't think that the District Attorney, or anyone else, for that matter, should have the authority to change the status of an individual, just to be able to inflict more punishment on them. And for any of us to be in agreement with this, then, we should not have any problem with our legislature changing the gender of a man to that of a woman, to justify 'Same Sex Marriages."

We complain about issues such as this, then, when situations like this happens, we reinforce, in our leaders, the idea that they have the power to change the Natural Laws. What will it be?

Salt Lake City, UT

When I was a teenager I got in fights and made stupid decisions. The adults who wanted to "lay down the law" and teach me a lesson only infuriated me more and I didn't listen to them. Why? Because they never listened to me. They seemed to assume I lived the same life as them, with the same understanding of responsibility and accountability.

Fortunately for me I had a few mentors who showed understanding and forgiveness and gave me a few second chances. They taught instead of fought. Punishments rarely teach lessons, meanwhile people offering to help work miracles.

I believe the DA made a very wise decision. I do not agree with charging him as an adult because the justice system ought to account for age more accurately. But as it does not, the DA recommended something in between. Some of us have called for showing partial mercy for very valid reasons. Some of us have called for trying him as an adult and throwing the book at him, and hard.

This is a compromise that satisfies the demands of both sides. The only people it doesn't satisfy want vengeance, not justice.

AZ Blue & Red
Gilbert, AZ

None of us can speak for this young man who made a serious mistake. Justice must be served. I think we all agree on that. BUT ruining 2 lives (and families) I think is not in the best interest of anyone. If this young man shows by his actions that he has not learned anything or has the same problems and tendencies then he needs to have the "book" thrown at him BUT if he is willing and can turn his life around, show sorrow and remorse I think we all should let him have a chance. (after the proper punishment). I am sure he would like to take that stupid moment of anger back. There are things we all wish we could take back BUT we can not.

Crucify him is easy to say but not deserved in this case. Justice and punishment yes, as well as proper mercy unless he shows by his actions that more justice and punishment is needed. Since we do not know him or his situation we need to let the proper authorities make this determination.

Sugar City, ID

I wonder how much violent video and movies this guy has watched. Has he observed coaches and parents and other players scream at the referee? I can't justify what he did but he's a product of a violent society. How can we get our society out of this immersion in violence? Something has to change or these kinds of things will happen again and again.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments