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Charge Upgraded to Murder Against Man Who Punched Soccer Ref

A funeral for John Bieniewicz, who never regained consciousness after he was allegedly knocked out cold by a player he was about to eject from a game, will be held Thursday.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has amended charges to second-degree murder against Bassel Abdul-Amir Saad, 36. (Patch file photo)
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has amended charges to second-degree murder against Bassel Abdul-Amir Saad, 36. (Patch file photo)

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said in a news release that she has amended the charges against Bassel Abdul-Amir Saad, 36, in connection with the death of John Bieniewicz, 44, of Westland.

Saad allegedly struck Bieniewicz once, knocking him out cold, during a June 29 adult soccer game at Miles Park, 32305 W. Chicago, in Livonia. Bieniewicz was transported to a local hospital for treatment, but never regained consciousness.

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Saad was originally charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm. During his June 30 arraignment in 16th District Court in Livonia, he was placed on $500,000 cash/surety bond, which has been increased to $1 million with Bieniewicz’s death.

The original charge will be dismissed, Worthy said, and the amended charge will be filed.

“The entire soccer world mourns with the family upon the death of John Biniewicz,” Worthy said in the news release. “This is especially tragic because it happened as the World Cup dominates our television screens.

“The alleged actions of this defendant cannot be tolerated and there must be action taken in our legislature to make sure that there are stronger penalties when a referee is the victim during organized sport,” she said.

Saad is expected to be arraigned on the amended charges at 9 a.m. Thursday before Judge Kathleen McCann in the 16th District Court in Livonia. The preliminary examination will be adjourned and a new date will be set by the court at the arraignment.

A funeral for Bieniewicz, who leaves behind a wife and two children, will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Hosana Lutheran Church, 9600 Leverne Road in Redford Township.

His cremated remains will be interred at a later date.



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