Members of a jury heard the 911 call Dillon Lee made after he shot and killed Alex Bedwell in the parking lot of their apartment complex.
"Ma'am, I just got attacked in my parking lot," he said. "I shot him. He just ran out and started hitting me in the face."
Lee, 26, is on trial for murder in Bedwell's death. This trial follows a mistrial last December after a jury was unable to agree on a verdict.
Prosecutors have said Lee and Bedwell, 38, had been at odds because Bedwell was dating Lee's ex-girlfriend.
She testified Tuesday, offering insight into their relationships.
The woman had been dating Bedwell for about a month, and had recently ended her four- to five-year relationship with Lee. All three lived at the Emory Woods complex off Veterans Memorial Parkway.
She kept contact with her ex, saying she wanted to maintain a friendship. Assistant public defender Everett Hoagland, representing Lee, read text messages the woman and Lee exchanged during January 2017. One message included a photo of her in a bathtub, he said.
Others were sent after a friend texted, suggesting she check on Lee because she had heard a gunshot near his apartment.
"I love and miss you too. You've always been my rock and my best friend," she wrote.
"I wanted him to know he wasn't alone," she said of the message. Other messages were of the two planning to meet in the parking lot and walk a dog, another was to meet and have dinner for his birthday, but to park at Target. She said their breakup had been difficult, and she didn't want her parents to know she was meeting him.
She testified seeing Bedwell on the ground the night of the shooting, but didn't see the shots fired. She said she walked outside to see Lee holding the phone.
Bedwell was still alive when Lee spoke to the police dispatcher.
"He said he was going to beat my ass. He was trying to make good on that threat," he said. "He's a lot bigger than I am, I had no other choice."
The trial will continue before Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge James Roberts on Wednesday.