The 17-year old made that surprising confession in a juvenile court Monday.
For his part in the death of Ricardo Portillo, he was sentenced to a juvenile facility until he turns 21-years old.
“We miss him because he the main supporter in our lives," said a tearful Johanna Portillo.
In court the 17 year apologized to the family prior to sentencing.
"I was frustrated,” the 17-year old said. “I hit the ref and caused his death. I am sorry I acted impulsively and childish. I have learned a lesson."
The 17-year olds mother also appeared in court and offered an apology to the Portillo family.
Portillo’s daughters spoke prior to sentencing. They stood in front of him about five feet from where he was sitting and spoke directly to him.
“It was a big thing that we had to be at his bedside calling him to wakeup,” Johanna Portillo said. “My sister had to spend her birthday at his bedside when he passed away.”
The 17-year old stared back at the daughter’s without showing any emotion.
“You just don't understand how much pain we're in,” said Anna Portillo. “I don't think you'll ever understand how much pain and suffering you made us go through."
The judge sentenced the 17-year old to a juvenile facility until he turns 21. That's four years behind bars. But he could be released sooner for good behavior.
“He will have a second chance,” says Johanna Portillo. “I feel you know he's getting a second chance to be better in life.”
By pleading guilty the teen avoided being certified as an adult. A probation officer recommended the teen remain in the juvenile system according to the juvenile prosecutor.
Patricia Lasswell with the Salt Lake District Attorney’s office said the teen has no criminal past and the judge would have probably ruled he remain in the juvenile system.
“If he were to go through the adult system he would have only been sentenced up to five years in prison potentially,” Lasswell said.
But as a juvenile, the 17-year old could get out sooner for good behavior.
“I don't think there's anything that's really enough,” said Lasswell. “I think this charge is what we could charge it's the right charge. But the death of Ricardo Portillo I don't think it is enough.”
And as a juvenile, the 17 year's record is wiped clean when he gets out. That is a sore spot with the Portillos.
“(It’s) frustrating because people should see what he did,” said Anna Portillo. “It makes us mad that no one will be able to ... he can get a good job if he wants to.”
The juvenile's attorneys avoided questions from reporters. The boy’s mother was also kept from reporters as they left the courthouse.
As part of the juvenile’s sentence the judge ordered that he write weekly letters to the Portillo family to report on his progress. In addition the 17 year old was ordered to hang a picture of Ricardo Portillo on the wall of his cell.
“I will make sure that the picture he gets it will be us with my dad and his grandchildren so he can wakeup everyday and check what he did,” said Johanna Portillo.