Trial set in fatal punching of referee in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Trial set in fatal punching of referee in Michigan

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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 from Dearborn punched John Bieniewicz on June 29, as Bieniewicz was preparing to red-card Saad in an adult recreational league game in Livonia.

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 out of Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit to a different venue due to extensive media coverage.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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