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Saad gets 8 to 15 years for punching death of referee

Soccer player, Bassel Saad, has been sentenced eight to 15 years by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge for the death of referee, John Bieniewicz.

Saad, who is 36, struck a plea deal with prosecutors for the death of the 44-year-old referee. The soccer player, who was facing a second-degree murder charge, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after punching Bieniewicz last year during a game in Livonia.

Bieniewicz died July 1, two days after receiving the fatal punch from Saad.

“The senselessness is staggering,” said a sister of Bieniewicz. “He killed John. He killed our joy. “The pain of losing John is indescribable,” she said in a statement to the Associated Press.

The accident happened last year after the referee was punched in the head by Saad for ejecting him from a game. Fellow player, Scott Herkes, said Bieniewicz was looking down at the time and did not see the punch coming.

Bieniewicz lay on conscious on the ground and died two days later in hospital. Saad was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

In a separate incident in 2005, Saad assaulted a soccer player. Saad, who is an immigrant from Lebanon, could be deported from the US after serving his sentence.

Judge Cameron said Friday to Saad: You “personify everything that is wrong” with the “escalation of violence in sports.”

In April 2013, a teenage football player punched Utah referee, Ricardo Portillo, during a game. The father of three died a week later. The teen pleaded guilty to homicide.


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