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Man Charged With Killing Referee Faces Key Hearing

Bassel Abdul-Amir Saad
Bassel Saad (credit: Wayne County Prosecutor's Office)

LIVONIA (WWJ/AP) - A Detroit-area soccer player accused of killing a referee with a punch faces a key hearing on a second-degree murder charge.

Police and prosecutors say Bassel Saad struck John Bieniewicz June 29 as the 44-year-old referee announced his decision to eject Saad from a men's league game.

A hearing to determine whether to send the case to trial is scheduled for Wednesday in Livonia District Court.

Saad is a 36-year-old auto mechanic from Dearborn. He initially was charged with assault, but prosecutors amended the charge after Bieniewicz died.

Defense lawyer Ali Hammoud has said his client is "extremely remorseful," but will have his day in court.

According to witnesses, Bieniewicz reached into his pocket and was in the process of pulling out a red card when he was struck. The incident happened at Mies Park in the 3200 block of West Chicago Road in Livonia.

Bieniewicz was a dialysis technician at Mott Children's Hospital who lived in the Detroit suburb of Westland with his wife and two sons.

MORE: How Did It Happen? Death Of Soccer Ref After Neck Punch Raises Medical Questions

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