Updated 4:17 p.m. with details from inside the courtroom
A jury has found Mohammed Haroon Ali, 36, guilty of first-degree murder for Tracey Biletnikoff in 1999.
The verdict, which comes after a three-month trial, was read in San Mateo County Superior Court this morning.
This was Ali's for the murder. A jury in 2001 found him guilty of killing Biletnikoff, 20, the daughter of former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff.
However, in 2009 an appellate court overturned that conviction, stating that prosecutors had improperly dismissed black jurors in the first trial.
Today's verdict comes after a three-month retrial.
Biletnikoff's family members wiped away tears and hugged each other after emerging from the Redwood City courtroom this morning.
"To have to go through it again -- it's not a good situation, but the outcome is what we hoped for," said Fred Biletnikoff, Jr., the victim's brother.
Biletnikoff's father told reporters that the family is proud of his daughter, who had been recovering from a drug addiction before her murder.
"She knew she had missed so much of her teenage life by getting involved in drugs, and she knew she was getting it back," he said.
It was through drug treatment programs that Tracey Biletnikoff met Ali, and the pair eventually began dating.
On Feb. 15, 2009, the couple got into an argument after Ali told Biletnikoff he had relapsed and gone on a drug binge two days earlier.
He testified during the trial that he relapsed after learning that an ex-girlfriend was pregnant with a child he had fathered. He said the woman had rejected his attempts to contact her.
Ali testified that the day of the murder, Biletnikoff blocked the office door where they were fighting and tried to hit him.
His hands moved to her neck and he strangled her until she was unconscious, according to his testimony and prosecutors.
Wagstaffe said Ali then used a rolled-up T-shirt to strangle Biletnikoff again to ensure that she was dead.
The defendant dragged Biletnikoff's body out of the office and into one of the rehab facility's vans, which he drove to in Redwood City. Ali then dumped the body down a ravine, where it was found the next day, half-clothed, according to prosecutors.
Ali testified that he had tried to make Biletnikoff's murder look like a sexual crime.
Ali fled to Mexico in Biletnikoff's car but was arrested after trying to re-enter the United States on Feb. 16.
Wagstaffe told the jury during the trial that Ali intended to kill Biletnikoff and continued to strangle her even as she tried to fight him off.
During closing arguments on Monday, he also argued that the defendant showed intent to kill during the three to five minutes it took to choke his then-girlfriend to death.
But defense attorney Peter Goldsheider argued throughout the trial that Biletnikoff's killing was a spontaneous crime of passion, warranting the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.
He argued that Ali had not carefully considered the consequences, nor had he intended to kill Biletnikoff.
The defendant's 2001 first-degree murder conviction earned him a 64-year prison sentence.
He now faces and is set to be sentenced on June 14.
--Bay City News
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