Man due back in court for fatally punching referee

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Man due back in court for fatally punching referee
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Livonia Police Department in Livonia, Mich., shows Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad, a Detroit-area soccer player who is accused of killing soccer referee John Bieniewicz with a punch to his neck. Saad, 36, of Dearborn, Mich.,was charged Wednesday, July 9, 2014, with second-degree murder, eight days after Bieniewicz died from his injuries. Saad has been free on bond. He will appear again in a Livonia court Thursday, July 10 on the second-degree murder charge. (AP Photo/Livonia Police Department, File)
FILE -This undated file photo released by Jim Bieniewicz shows his brother, soccer referee John Bieniewicz, 44, top left, with his family. Bieniewicz was attacked while officiating at an adult league game in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Mich., on Sunday, June 29, 2014. Bieniewicz lost consciousness and died Tuesday, July 1, 2014, at a hospital. On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, soccer player Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad, 36, of Dearborn was charged with second-degree murder. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Jim Bieniewicz, File)

DETROIT (AP) - A recreational soccer player accused in the one-punch slaying of a referee who was about to penalize and eject him from a game is making his first appearance in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Bassel Saad is scheduled to appear Thursday morning for an arraignment in the Detroit courtroom of Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway. He was ordered last week to stand trial on a second-degree murder charge.

Authorities say the auto mechanic from Dearborn struck John Bieniewicz on June 29 as the referee was preparing to red-card Saad in an adult recreational league game in Livonia.

Prosecutors have described the punch as "very violent" and "thought-out." Saad's lawyer has argued for a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, describing his client as getting "emotional" in a competitive game.

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