DEARBORN (WWJ/AP) – A Dearborn man who allegedly killed an adult league soccer referee with a punch to his neck has been bound over for trial.
Following a two-day preliminary hearing in Livonia 16th district court, Judge Kathleen McCann ruled there is enough evidence to move forward on a second degree murder charge against Bassel Saad.
Saad, a 36-year-old auto mechanic, is accused of punching John Bieniewicz, a soccer referee, right under his left ear — after Bieniewicz issued Saad a red card — which ejected him from the game at Mies Park in Livonia.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office says the blow knocked Bieniewicz out before he even hit the ground. He died two days later at a local hospital.
The attack on Bieniewicz came during the second half of an over-30 Michigan United Soccer League game on June 29. Bieniewicz reached into his pocket and was in the process of pulling out a red card when he was punched, according to witnesses and police, who said Saad fled while Bieniewicz was being tended to. [LISTEN TO THE 911 CALL]
Cause of death was “blunt impact to left side of his neck” the Medical Examiner said.
Defense attorney Ali Hammoud says second degree murder is an over charge, and his client should be charged with manslaughter.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Raj Prasad disagrees.
“Your honor, all three witnesses were quite clear in describing to the court a very violent, very thought out punch. I think the most accurate way of describing it was the ’round house pumch’ that our third witness presented,” Prasad said.
Saad, who Hammound said is “extremely remorseful” about what happened, faces up to live in prison if convicted.
Bieniewicz worked in the pediatric dialysis unit at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. He lived in Westland with his wife and two sons.
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