LIVONIA, Mich. -

A Detroit-area soccer player accused of killing a referee with a punch to his neck was arraigned Thursday on a second-degree murder charge.

Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad, a 36-year-old auto mechanic from Dearborn, was in Livonia District Court. Saad wiped away tears as a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

His bond is $1 million.

John Bieniewicz died last week from injuries sustained June 29 when he was hit while working as a referee at a men's soccer game in Livonia.

John Bieniewicz

Police and prosecutors say Saad struck Bieniewicz as the 44-year-old referee formally announced his decision to eject him.

Saad was initially charged with assault, but prosecutors amended the charge after Bieniewicz died.

Defense lawyer Brian Berry has said his client is not guilty of assaulting Bieniewicz, whose funeral service is to be held on Thursday.