US

Utah teen charged with homicide by assault in soccer referee death, avoids manslaughter count

  • Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, becomes emotional as she speaks about her father's death during a press conference in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Kim Raff)

    Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, becomes emotional as she speaks about her father's death during a press conference in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Kim Raff)  (The Associated Press)

  • A mourner light candles at a makeshift memorial before a news conference by the family to discuss the death of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Kim Raff)

    A mourner light candles at a makeshift memorial before a news conference by the family to discuss the death of Ricardo Portillo, who passed away after injuries he sustained after an assault by a soccer player at a soccer game he was refereeing on April 27, in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Kim Raff)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 5, 2013, file photo, Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo speaks about her father's death during a news conference in Salt Lake City. A Utah prosecutor said Monday, May 6, he plans to decide soon what charges to file against a teenager accused of punching Portillo, a soccer referee who later died after slipping into a weeklong coma. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Kim Raff, File)

    FILE - In this May 5, 2013, file photo, Johana Portillo-Lopez, daughter of Ricardo Portillo speaks about her father's death during a news conference in Salt Lake City. A Utah prosecutor said Monday, May 6, he plans to decide soon what charges to file against a teenager accused of punching Portillo, a soccer referee who later died after slipping into a weeklong coma. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Kim Raff, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Utah teen accused of punching a soccer referee who later died has been charged with homicide by assault, a count issued when an attack unintentionally causes death.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced the charges Wednesday.

A homicide by assault charge is less serious than manslaughter. It carries up to five years in prison for adults, but penalties can be less for juveniles.

The district attorney's office says it will seek to try the teen as an adult.

The 17-year-old has been in juvenile detention since April 27, when the incident occurred at a recreational-league soccer match in a Salt Lake City suburb.

Authorities say the teen was playing goalie when 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo called a penalty on him. They say the teen began arguing with Portillo, then struck him in the head.

Portillo went into a coma hours later. He died Saturday.