LIVONIA, Mich. - A Detroit-area soccer player accused of killing a referee with a punch is facing a key hearing on a second-degree murder charge.
Police and prosecutors say Baseel Saad, 36, struck John Bieniewicz after the 44-year-old referee announced his decision to eject Saad from a men's league game on June 29.
A hearing to determine whether to send the case to trial is scheduled for Wednesday in Livonia District Court.
Saad is an auto mechanic from Dearborn. He initially was charged with assault, but prosecutors amended the charge after Bieniewicz died. Saad has pleaded not guilty.
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.