Soccer referee homicide case gets new judge, trial date

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN —The jury trial for the Dearborn soccer player who allegedly punched and killed a soccer referee in Livonia has been delayed.

The delay comes after assigned Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway recused herself from the case during the Nov. 6 final conference.

Bassel Saad’s attorney Cyril Hall said Hathaway’s background in sports could be a conflict to hear the case.

Hathaway has recused herself from other cases including sports figures, said Maria Miller, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman. Along with her history with sports, Hathaway still has a love for sports, especially football.

The incident happened on June 29 in Livonia with the death of Bieniewicz coming couple days later on July 1.

Saad is accused of second-degree murder after he punched referee John Bieniewicz during a soccer game June 29 in Livonia after Saad was given a red card and ejected, police and witnesses said. Bieniewicz died on July 1.

Saad’s bond is set at $1 million cash or surety.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cameron has taken over the case, which is scheduled for a motion hearing at 9 a.m. Friday. The jury trial is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 9 from the original Dec. 8 date.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)