Detroit-area soccer player faces December trial on murder charge after punching referee

The Associated Press
August 7, 2014 08:46 AM

DETROIT - A recreational soccer player accused in the one-punch killing of a referee who was about to eject him from a game in suburban Detroit is scheduled to stand trial in December.

Bassel Saad made his first appearance in trial court Thursday, and a trial date was set for Dec. 8. He's charged with second-degree murder.

Authorities say the auto mechanic punched John Bieniewicz on June 29, as Bieniewicz was preparing to red-card Saad in an adult recreational league game.

Saad's lawyer Ali Hammoud, has argued for a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, describing his client as getting "emotional" in a competitive game.

Hammoud also wants the trial moved to a different venue due to extensive media coverage.

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