Teen's family apologizes to family of referee he's accused of killing

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  • Rustymommy Clovis, NM
    June 20, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    I thought murder included "premeditated". Getting mad a punching somebody as described by the press doesn't seem consistent with premeditated. It was a tragic situation. But intending to murder? Probably not. Adult or minor, it still sounds more like manslaughter than murder to me. It sounds like the victim's family is more forgiving than the judicial system.

  • MrTuscadero Houston, TX
    June 18, 2013 6:47 p.m.

    After thinking about this for a while, it occurs to me that it may not have been conclusively established, at least in the media, that the assault was the direct cause of death.

    A dentist with an overweight patient with hypertension treated her will all due diligence to avoid complications, but she died in the chair. The family filed a massive lawsuit against the dentist for "killing" their grandmother. It turned out that the old lady had an aneurysm in the brain that could have ruptured at any time, and just coincidentally ruptured while she was in the dental chair.

    That's why we have due process -- something the media cannot provice.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    June 17, 2013 12:39 p.m.

    @ G L W8

    I went to law school (many years ago) and have practiced law for over 25 years, so I understand the context in which law students might be told, "there is no right, there is no wrong, there is only the law."

    That said, I don't recommend it as a creed.

    There surely is right and there surely is wrong and while the justice system will work within the law (as it should), none of us should ever equate the law with what is right or what is wrong.

    Btw, the young man can certainly apologize, if he chooses to do so, without tainting any legal proceedings.

    June 17, 2013 5:55 a.m.

    The first thing my daughter was taught in law school: "There is no right, there is no wrong, there is only the law." This case is a complex legal issue, and all the weaknesses of the law will come out. Neither justice nor mercy can totally be satisfied, the law will reign supreme--and the families and the community at large will have to live with it.
    Of course the father removed the boy: for the boy's own protection from further incident and the hounding of the media--that may have been the smart thing to do. Of course the boy cannot apologize himself; that may taint his case. Of course the judgments from the public sector have no legal bearing on this case, including these present comments. Right or wrong, the law will run its course. In the meantime, we look for a wiser judge, who with more justice and mercy than we humans can exercise, can and will resolve this issue with the families and us. We are incapable of doing it ourselves.

  • IdahoStranger NEWDALE, ID
    June 15, 2013 5:00 p.m.

    Another look:

    Perhaps the father took the boy home in order to avoid any more altercations?

    Sports fans also have a reputation for throwing temper tantrums and in such a situation, is it not possible that further violence might have erupted?

  • MrTuscadero Houston, TX
    June 15, 2013 4:49 p.m.

    In this particular case, the law seems to be functioning. That is rare in my neck of the woods for incidents of this sort. It is reassuring to know that the entire world has not gone mad. The family of the killer did apologize to the vicitm.

    Where I live, in such a case, the killer would plead "not guilty," and the family would have a mass protest in front of the victim's home 24/7 for months, and all the "community organizers" would show up and and do their imitation of WWF trash talk for the cameras.

  • Janet Ontario, OR
    June 15, 2013 3:08 p.m.

    The boy probably didn't apologize because he is locked up and has no access to the media. His sister apologized on his behalf. A teenager's prefrontal cortex (the logical reasoning part of the brain)is not fully developed. That's why teens think they're "10 feet tall and bulletproof." A 17-year-old boy is full of testosterone. Did he know that hitting was wrong? Of course he did. Did he realize that a punch to the head could kill a man? I seriously doubt it. Will he ever get over what he did? I seriously doubt it. This wasn't some gang-banger involved in criminal activity. It was a kid overreacting in a fit of temper. Apologies won't bring back the ref; neither will over-prosecuting the young offender. Some time in "juvie" and court-ordered counseling may help the young man learn to control himself and make something of himself.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    June 15, 2013 3:02 p.m.

    If he were to be tried as an adult, the commentors here would make an interesting jury pool.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    June 15, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    When ever I read or hear that a juvenile has been charged and the prosecution is seeking to have said defendant tried as an adult, there is only one reason - because they want to make sure that the maximum amount of punishment is meted out as possible.

    Juveniles are not adults; researched has already noted that their brains are not capable of making adult level decisions, and yet as a society we are determined to incarcerate as many of our citizens as possible for the sake of revenge, in most cases.

    No, saying 'sorry' won't change what happened, but hopefully feeling truly sorry will prevent it from happening again. We are quick to throw stones, until someone else has reasonable cause to throw them back.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    June 15, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    I agree that there certainly is a right thing to do. Although the teen did not mean to kill a person, he did deliberately hit the referee and did intend to cause much harm, judging by how and where he punched him.

    From the free dictionary website is found the following definition of manslaughter:

    "The unjustifiable, inexcusable, and intentional killing of a human being without deliberation, premeditation, and malice. The unlawful killing of a human being without any deliberation, which may be involuntary, in the commission of a lawful act without due caution and circumspection.

    Manslaughter is a distinct crime and is not considered a lesser degree of murder. The essential distinction between the two offenses is that malice aforethought must be present for murder, whereas it must be absent for manslaughter. Manslaughter is not as serious a crime as murder. On the other hand, it is not a justifiable or excusable killing for which little or no punishment is imposed."

    In what way is this not considered manslaughter? People can choose their actions, but are not free to choose the consequences. All the apologies in the world will not undo what he did.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    June 15, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    BYU Joe- harm was intended. That's why the punch was strong enough to kill.

    Being seventeen is no more of an excuse than being thirty. I've known many seventeen year olds who wouldn't have thrown that kind of punch.

    Has this teen offered an apology, or shown remorse? Did he offer help,or an apology after the punch, or just ran off?

  • Random Redlands, CA
    June 15, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    My husband and 12 year old son both ref soccer games, sometimes putting in four games in a day. Have they blown calls? Of course. What ref hasn't? But the idea that they could be killed for a call someone didn't like is terrifying. They are reffing so that all kids can play the game. If there's no ref, there's no game, which is disappointing for the kids who have prepared and practiced.
    My 2 cents: Are you serious? That is the most insulting thing I've ever heard to a ref or a ref's family.
    Last thought: Why didn't the boy apologize? How long will he hide behind his family and his lawyer?

  • alternate Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Three comments. One to "my2cents" You are out to lunch with your "accident theory". Anger and punching is not an accident. It is assault. Nothing less. In this case it was an assault that caused a tragic death. Yes forgiveness is a wonderful thing and can greatly help, but accountability and justice also come into play here.

    Secondly, The defense attorney is also out to lunch. I believe he recommended to release the young man to his family. Well, of course, except the father may have played a role in the accused leave the scene of the crime initially. Will the same thing happen again? Good idea defense attorney!

    In addition to his sister speaking out, I would also like to see an apology from the young man himself.

  • EightOhOne St. George, UT
    June 15, 2013 8:48 a.m.


    you make an absolutely terrible argument. so the referee's death is his own fault, for taking a "risk" by reffing a soccer game??? unbelievable. im not sure what sporting events you attend where this would be considered an accident, but where i'm from-this is an assault with intent to harm, plain and simple. why else would you sucker punch someone? so you can inflict damage without the other person having a chance to defend themself. the referee did absolutely nothing wrong. this is a terrible tragedy for all involved, but to insist that mr. portillo had fault in his own death is absolutely asinine

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    June 15, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    It bothers me that the family apologized, not the young man. I think that is a lot of the problem with the youth today. When they act badly, no one holds them responsible. This young man had learned that when you get a penalty in soccer you hit the coach. What other situation will make him explode and hit. Not for a minute do I believe that prison or juvenile detention will help this young man. But he has to pay for this man's death. How tragic!

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    June 15, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    He should be charged with felony manslaughter as an adult. In most states, 17 is not a juvenile. He had received a yellow card and then things escalated. From that standpoint, it would appear premeditated. He ran which is a sign of guilt. In addition, look at where he hit the referee. It is stated that it was in the "rear jaw area". Who hits someone in the rear jaw area without intending to do grave bodily harm? That is a sign of someone who really knew where to hit and hurt. By certifying him as an adult, the judge will have leeway in sentencing and the incident will be on his record. I believe that an extensive background check is in order. His defense attorney is painting him as an angel.

  • Jil York, SC
    June 15, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    I will never understand how someone could kill another because on a penalty in a "Game". In five years no one would have even remembered this boy played,games are taken to seriously. In the end these are just games, this boy is about to receive a dose of reality.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    I feel to differ with OnlyInUtah on the lack of a "right" thing to do. The right thing to do id being done, in court. A man died, as a result of an action taken by another person. The end, a death, may not have been anticipated from the act taken but the act taken was outside the rules of the game and this society.

    While the families will have to deal with the events privately, our society must deal with the event in public and according to the law. It is not a perfect system but to ignore a man's death at the the hand of another person cannot be tolerated if we expect a sense of justice to prevail.

    I also believe that the assailant should be held in custody, and that he is a flight risk. Such a case demands open court proceedings so the public can know what happened by testimony and what punishment is decreed by law.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    June 15, 2013 3:41 a.m.

    With apologies made and accepted by both families the state should move on and forget about prosecuting this teen for the referee's "accidental" death. There was no intent to harm or hurt beyond established playing accepted game risk by all players and referee's on the field.

    The greater risk was taken by the referee who knowingly with knowledge of medical and health risk entered the game at his own risk and should bear total accountability for his unwise choices. I don't think the referee would want this teen be jailed or imprisoned for his mistakes in his judgement of choices. The referee knew the risk and any player at any time could have collided with the referee and would have resulted in the same tragedy.

    Prosecutors should be challenging the game rules, not the players when accidents or common body butting exhibitions cause injuries.

    They say basketball is a non contact sport but its more dangerous for players than jocks playing hardcore contact football and no one is prosecuted in those sports. And what about accidental killing by law enforcement in times of hyper adrenalin rushes making high risk judgement calls that end up with unnecessary deaths?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 15, 2013 1:09 a.m.

    Do apologizes bring dead people back to life?

    It's great that this family apologized. But I'm sorry, the murderer needs to pay his dues. Maybe those in the future will think long and hard before committing senseless violent acts.

    June 15, 2013 12:07 a.m.

    The right thing is simple. You charge the young man with Manslaughter as a Juvenile. He in no way wanted to kill the man. He never intended it and never thought it could happen. You allow the juvenile system to make sure he is rehabilitated. What you don't do is let this horrific outcome, of a punch, create a multitude of tragedies.

    I take nothing away from this family. It is terrible to lose your father, I know I lost mine, but hurting this young man beyond this is just the DA showing itself to be tough on crime when what they should be is focused on mercy and understanding. Just because you can charge him as an adult in this political age does not mean you should.

    Allow these families to heal and find peace in what truly is a tragedy.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 14, 2013 10:11 p.m.

    Two families suffering a loss because of thoughtless actions generated through emotional rage. There is no "right" thing to do in a case like this and I can only pray for both families to be able to heal and be able to deal with these tragic results.