Salt Lake County, UT

The 17-year-old boy accused of fatally punching volunteer soccer referee Ricardo Portillo may be prosecuted as an adult.

He was charged in the 3rd District Juvenile Court with third-degree felony homicide by assault, but Salt Lake County prosecutors are seeking to move the case to adult court.

The teen, upset after being isssued a yellow card for rough play, allegedly punched Portillo in the rear jaw area during an April 27 soccer match at Eisenhower Junior High in Taylorsville.

Portillo fell to the ground and began vomiting blood and later fell into coma after Paramedics took him to the hospital.

He died Saturday after nearly a week in a coma.

The accused, a goalkeeper playing his first game for La Liga Continental de Fútbol team, was arrested two days after the match. He is being held in juvenile detention.

The crime is punishable by up to five years in prison in the adult system. But if the case remains in the juvenile system, the teen could be held in detention until he is 21 years old.

Utah law allows a minor over the age of 14 to be certified as an adult during a hearing before a juvenile court judge.

Prosecutors claim the teen is of "sufficient maturity" to be tried in adult court, and that the "likelihood of rehabilitation of the juvenile is minimal."

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said prosecutors believe the teen's case belongs in an adult courtroom, but wants to balance the status of that youth with the harm that has been caused.

The accused has never before been to juvenile court on a criminal or delinquency charge.

Meanwhile, family members have donated Portillo's organs to waiting transplant patients. His body will be returned to his native Mexico for burial.