Alleged US referee killer to stand trial

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.

The referee was allegedly punched after administering a red card. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Authorities say the auto mechanic punched John Bieniewicz on June 29, as Bieniewicz was preparing to red-card Saad in an adult recreational league game.

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 to a different venue due to extensive media coverage.