By DANIEL HERATY
DEARBORN – A 34-year-old Dearborn man accused of killing a 23-year-old after a fight on a basketball court faces first degree murder charges after a preliminary examination of the evidence against him that finished Friday.
In the conclusion of the exam that began Aug. 19 in 19th District Court, Judge Mark Somers ruled that 34-year-old Fadi Faraj, accused of shooting to death 23-year-old Hassan Zeidan following a fight at a basketball court at Riverside Academy in July, will stand trial on charges of first-degree murder and felony firearm possession.
The trial will be held in Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit starting Sept. 16. If convicted, Faraj, 34, faces the possibility of life in prison without parole.
Somers ruled that the prosecutors, Detroit-based Jamil Khuja and Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Screen, presented enough evidence to proceed with the trial.
The shooting followed a fight at a basketball game that allegedly broke out when Faraj felt Zeidan was guarding him too aggressively.
“Faraj had more than a second opportunity to think about what he was doing,” Somers said. “There were multiple points where Faraj had more that a few occasions (to not shoot). At least four by the court’s count.”
Khuja said that there were a couple of minutes between the fight and the shooting where Faraj could have thought about his actions.
“He went to the car and looked for the weapon,” Khuja said. “There was plenty of time for premeditation.”
Bloomfield Hills-based defense attorney Elias Muawad argued that Faraj shot Zeidan in a state of anger and heightened emotion, which negates the premeditated murder accusation.
“There was absolute chaos on the court,” he said. “I don’t think the prosecution has met its burden (of proof).”
Abe Beydoun, Zeidan’s cousin, said the shooting was devastating for the family.
“His loss is a great loss,” he said. “But watching his parents suffer is a greater tragedy.”
Beydoun said he and members of Zeidan’s family are glad to see the trial move forward.
“You can’t say it brings a sense of closure,” he said. “We just hope he gets the maximum sentence.”
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected])