Saad faces 8-15 years, possible deportation
By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The man who punched a soccer referee — who later died — during a soccer game last year in Livonia pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Feb. 20
Bassel Saad, 36, of Dearborn agreed to a plea deal that could lead to 8 to 15 years in prison during pre-trial at the Wayne County Circuit Court.
The incident occurred June 29 in Livonia when referee John Bieniewicz was preparing to give Saad a red card during the game. Saad than punched Bieniewicz in the neck which caused Bieniewicz to collapse. He died July 1.
Bieniewicz worked at the pediatric dialysis center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.
Initially, Saad faced a second-degree murder charge and possible life in prison if he was found guilty during a trial. The trial was set to begin Feb. 23 before Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cameron.
Saad also faces the possibility of deportation to Lebanon because he is not a U.S. citizen.
“I want you to understand that the offense that you are pleading guilty to today is a deportable offense,” Judge Timothy Kenny told Saad. “This plea today could have immigration consequences. Do you understand that?”
“Yes, your honor,” Saad responded.
The sentencing for Saad is scheduled 9 a.m. March 13 in circuit court.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected]cations.com.)