DALLAS (AP) — The mother of two teenagers who were fatally shot in 2008 in the Dallas area told jurors Thursday that her ex-husband, who is on trial for the murders after evading arrest for more than 12 years, was violent and controlling during their marriage.
When Patricia Owens was asked to identify her ex-husband in court, she pointed to Yaser Said, saying, “That devil over there.”
Said, 65, is charged with capital murder, accused of killing Amina Said, 18, and Sarah Said, 17, on New Year’s Day in 2008. Yaser Said has pleaded not guilty. Said, who had worked as a taxi driver, automatically faces a life sentence if found guilty.
The sisters were found shot dead in a taxi parked near a hotel in the Dallas suburb of Irving. On Wednesday, jurors heard a 911 call Sarah Said made from a cell phone, telling the operator that her father had shot her and that she was dying.
A former police detective testified on Thursday that the taxi in which the girls were found was loaned to Yaser Said.
A week before the sisters were killed, they and their mother left their home in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville and traveled to Oklahoma to get away from Said. The two sisters’ boyfriends also joined the three.
Prosecutor Lauren Black said in her opening statements that the sisters became “very scared for their lives” and the decision to leave was made after Said “put a gun to Amina’s head and threatened to kill her. “, said the prosecutor.
Owens, who spoke softly and often hesitantly on the stand, testified that Said eventually convinced her to return to Texas. “I didn’t think anything would happen,” she testified.
Black said during opening statements that Said was “obsessed with possession and control.” Owens testified that when she married Said she was 15 and he was 29. The night the girls were killed, Said only wanted to take the two sisters to a restaurant.
In a letter written to the judge hearing the case, Said said he was unhappy with his children’s “dating activity” but denied killing his daughters. Defense attorney Joseph Patton said in his opening statements that the evidence would not support a conviction and that police were too quick to focus on Said.
Black said Sarah Said was shot nine times and Amina Said was shot twice.
In a December 21, 2007 email that was entered into evidence, Amina Said told one of her teachers that she and her sister were planning to elope. She wrote that she and her sister did not want to live according to the culture of their father, who was born in Egypt, nor did they want arranged marriages, as he had planned. Her father, she writes, had “made our life a nightmare”.
“He will, without any drama or doubt, kill us,” the email read.
Yaser Said, who had been wanted on a capital murder warrant since the killings, was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list. He was eventually arrested in August 2020 in Justin, about 35 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Dallas. His son, Islam Said, and brother, Yassim Said, were later convicted of helping him escape arrest.
The Associated Press