July 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Medical examiner rules soccer referee's death a homicide

John Bieniewicz (AP)

Livonia — The cause of death for John Bieniewicz, the local soccer referee who died after being punched by a player during a match last weekend, was blunt force trauma to the neck, according to autopsy results released by the Wayne County Medical Examiner on Thursday.

Bieniewicz’s death has been ruled a homicide, said Mary Mazur, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.

Bieniewicz, a 44-year-old married father of two sons, was assaulted by a player he ejected from a soccer match Sunday at Mies Park in Livonia.

The player, Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad, 36, of Dearborn, charged Monday with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, is now expected to be charged with homicide by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Meanwhile, members of The Professional Referee Organization will be sporting black armbands during soccer matches this weekend to honor Bieniewicz.

“The Professional Referee Organization is saddened by the death of referee John Bieniewicz this past Tuesday from an injury sustained while working an adult soccer match,” read a statement from the PRO organization. “Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Mr. Bieniewicz.”

Memorial funds have been set up to pay for funeral and burial costs for Bieniewicz and also to assist with his sons’ education. James Acho, a family friend said the U.S. Soccer Federation just pledged $5,000 and some professional league referees and umpires have pledged at least $500.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

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John Bieniewicz (AP)