Motion hearing in fatal punching of referee postponed

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — A court hearing for the man accused in the one-punch killing of a soccer referee who was about to eject him from a game has been postponed until Oct. 24.

Bassel Saad, 36, of Dearborn, was to appear Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court for a motion hearing, but the proceedings were delayed until next week because he has a new lawyer, officials with the county prosecutor’s office said.

Saad, whose trial is to begin in December, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with a June 29 fatal assault on a referee at an adult recreational soccer game in Livonia.

He initially was represented by attorney Ali Hammoud, but has retained Cyril Hall as his new lawyer, according to officials. Hammoud has said Saad is “very sorry for his actions,” but prosecutors’ second-degree murder case is “extremely weak.”

Prosecutors and police say Saad punched John Bieniewicz as he was preparing to red-card Saad during a soccer game.

Bieniewicz lived in Westland with his wife and two sons.

(313) 222-2541

Associated Press contributed.