Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mischief by Ninth Circus Leads to New Trial for Mohammed Haroon Ali, Who in 1999 Confessed to Killing Fred Biletnikoff’s Daughter, Tracey; Defense

Attorney Seeks to Re-Define Murder Without Premeditation (2nd Degree) as “Manslaughter”

Murder victim Tracey Biletnikoff

Retrial delayed to 2012 in murder of ex-Raiders star's daughter
By Joshua Melvin
Posted: 09/16/2011 09:16:34 PM PDT
Updated: 09/19/2011 12:14:55 PM PDT

REDWOOD CITY -- The retrial of a man already convicted once of murdering the daughter of former Raiders star Fred Biletnikoff has been delayed until next year because of a defense lawyer's health problems, attorneys said.

Defendant Mohammed Haroon Ali's trial was supposed to start Oct. 11, but during a hearing Friday that date was pushed out to Jan. 9 because of attorney Peter Goldscheider's knee surgery.

Ali is charged with murdering 20-year-old Tracey Biletnikoff, who was his girlfriend, during a fight on Feb. 16, 1999, over his relapse into drug use.


Tracey Biletnikoff's murderer, Mohammed Haroon Ali


Ali's murder conviction was overturned in July 2009 when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who was then chief deputy district attorney, had dismissed the only two black members in the jury pool because of their race.

Wagstaffe has denied any wrongdoing and is prosecuting the case's retrial.

The delay means the Biletnikoff family will pass another holiday season without a resolution in the case.

"They will have to go through another Christmas knowing it's right behind them," Wagstaffe said.

Goldscheider, when reached by phone Friday, said his doctors have recommended he get knee-replacement surgery immediately.

"This is probably something I shouldn't wait too long on," he said. "But I don't think it's life-threatening."

The attorney declined to discuss his defense strategy for Ali, but said the
central issue in the case is whether the killing was murder or manslaughter.

Ali was convicted by a San Mateo County jury in 2001 of murder and was sentenced to 55 years to life in prison.

A manslaughter conviction would shave decades off the 36-year-old man's prison sentence.

"I don't think it was premeditated," Goldscheider said. "He was in a relationship that became a volatile one."

Prosecutors say the couple got into a dispute at San Mateo drug and alcohol center Project 90, where both attended counseling, over Ali's recent resumption of drug use.

He allegedly strangled her with his hands and then a shirt. Her naked body was found dumped at the bottom of a hill at Cañada College in Redwood City.

Ali, who later admitted the killing to police, fled to Mexico and was arrested as he crossed back into the United States.

He remains in custody without bail.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335.


Retrial moved from Oct. 11 to Jan. 9.


Anonymous said...

Assuming the defense attorney deigns to enter the courtroom, he will be trying for a verdict of manslaughter. If this happens, the defendant will walk with time served.

David In TN

Nicholas said...

I'm sure you're right. Your theory makes perfect sense out of what defense counsel has been saying.