A man on trial for strangling the daughter of a Hall of Fame football player in 1999 took the stand in his own defense for a second consecutive day Thursday.
Mohammed Haroon Ali, 36, said he "wasn't thinking straight" in the moments after he choked his girlfriend Tracey Biletnikoff to death in a San Mateo drug rehabilitation center on Feb. 15, 1999.
Biletnikoff, then 20-years-old and a recovering drug addict, was the daughter of former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff.
Under cross examination by San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, Ali -- also a recovering drug addict -- said he was scarcely aware of his own actions in the moments after he fought with Biletnikoff over his relapse with alcohol, crack and methamphetamine just days before.
Ali interrupted his own testimony by sobbing and covering his face with his hand.
At one point, Wagstaffe asked, "Mr. Ali, are you going to be able to get a hold of yourself so we can get through this?"
He shook his head no and Judge Barbara Mallach ordered a brief recess for the defendant to compose himself and continue to his testimony.
Ali testified that Biletnikoff was relentlessly insisting that he restart the sobriety program at Project 90, which would likely mean he would lose his counseling job, and possibly submit a "dirty" drug test at a meeting with his probation officer on the following day.
Biletnikoff blocked the doorway to prevent Ali from running away and called him a "loser," he said.
Ali grabbed Biletnikoff's shoulders and tried to get her to move, he said. She attempted to strike him, and in the struggle his hands moved from her shoulders to her neck.
The next thing he remembered was seeing Biletnikoff dead on the floor, with "big eyes" and "white fluid" coming out of her mouth, he said.
Prosecutors allege that Ali intended to kill Biletnikoff by strangling her twice, once with his hands and a second time with a black T-shirt he tied tightly around her neck.
Defense attorney Peter Goldscheider has argued that the homicide was a crime of passion, and that Ali tied the black T-shirt around the victim's neck to make it appear that Biletnikoff had been the victim of a sexual crime.
Cross-examination is scheduled to continue on Monday.