Us

Wife of Michigan soccer referee killed by punch serves red card to killer at sentencing

Bassel Abdul Saad, left, sitting with his attorney Ali Hammoud, faces sentencing Friday in one-punch killing of referee John Bieniewicz during a game.(AP Photo/Detroit News, David Coates)

Bassel Abdul Saad, left, sitting with his attorney Ali Hammoud, faces sentencing Friday in one-punch killing of referee John Bieniewicz during a game.(AP Photo/Detroit News, David Coates)

A Michigan weekend soccer player whose punch killed a referee was hit Friday with an 8-to-15 year prison sentence and a penalty red card from the wife of his victim.

Bassel Saad, 37, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He admitted striking referee John Bieniewicz during a game last summer at a Livonia park as Bieniewicz prepared to issue Saad a second yellow card, ejecting him from the game. Bieniewicz died two days later.

"The one final thing that I want to do is I would like to serve Mr. Saad with the red card that he was entitled to," Kristen Bieniewicz said in court, according to MyFoxDetroit. She held the red card in the air.

Saad could be seen bending down to wipe away tears as she spoke.

He said he wanted to apologize to everyone.

"I think about him and his family every day, and I pray for him and his family every day," Saad said, wiping away tears.

Judge Thomas Cameron told Saad he ruined the Bieniewicz family and his own family.

"For better or for worse, you've come to personify all that's wrong with many people's belief about the escalation of violence in sports," Cameron said.

Saad also must pay $9,265 in restitution to cover the cost of his victim's funeral.

Michigan lawmakers are discussing whether to create new crimes for assaults on sports referees.