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Medical examiner: Death of referee who was punched at soccer match is ruled homicide

  • Soccer-Referee-Attacked-1

    This undated photo released by Jim Bieniewicz shows his brother, soccer referee John Bieniewicz, 44, top left, with his family. Bieniewicz was attacked while officiating at an adult league game in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Mich., on Sunday, June 29, 2014. Bieniewicz lost consciousness and died Tuesday, July 1, 2014, at a hospital. (AP Photo/Jim Bieniewicz)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Soccer-Referee-Attacked-2

    This undated photo provided by Jim Bieniewicz shows his brother, soccer referee John Bieniewicz, 44, right, with his family. Bieniewicz was attacked while officiating at an adult league game in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Mich., on Sunday, June 29, 2014. Bieniewicz lost consciousness and died Tuesday, July 1, 2014, at a hospital. (AP Photo/Jim Bieniewicz)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT — The local medical examiner says a referee who died after being punched during a soccer game near Detroit was killed during a homicide.

The Wayne County medical examiner’s office says an autopsy was conducted today on 44-year-old John Bieniewicz. Office spokeswoman Mary Mazur says the autopsy determined he died from blunt force trauma to the neck.

Police say 36-year-old Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad threw the punch during an adult-league soccer game Sunday in Livonia, a Detroit suburb. Bieniewicz, who lived in nearby Westland, died two days later.

Prosecutors have charged Saad with assault with intent to do great bodily harm. But they say the charges against the Dearborn man are being reviewed and could be amended in light of Bieniewicz’s death.

Saad’s attorney says his client is innocent.

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