DALLAS (AP) — The mother of two teens fatally shot in 2008 in the Dallas area told jurors Thursday that her ex-husband, who is on trial for the killings after evading arrest for over 12 years, was abusive and controlling during their marriage.
When Patricia Owens was asked to identify her ex-husband in court, she pointed at Yaser Said, saying: “That devil there.”
Said, 65, is charged with capital murder, accused of killing 18-year-old Amina Said and 17-year-old Sarah Said on New Year’s Day in 2008. Yaser Said has entered a not guilty plea. Said, who had worked as a taxi driver, faces an automatic life sentence if convicted.
The sisters were found shot to death 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 shot her and she was dying.
A former police detective testified Thursday that the taxi the girls were found in had been lent to Yaser Said.
A week before the sisters were killed, they and their mother left their home in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville and went to Oklahoma to get away from Said. Both sisters’ boyfriends also joined the three.
Prosecutor Lauren Black said in opening statements that the sisters had become “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,” the prosecutor said.
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 evening the girls’ were killed, Said wanted to take just the two sisters to a restaurant.
In a letter written to the judge overseeing the case, Said said he was not happy with his kids’ “dating activity” but denied killing his daughters. Defense attorney Joseph Patton said in 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 Dec. 21, 2007, email that was brought into evidence, Amina Said told one of her teachers that she and her sister planned to run away. She wrote that she and her sister didn’t want to live by the culture of their father, who was born in Egypt, nor did they want arranged marriages, as he planned. Her father, she wrote, had “made our lives a nightmare.”
“He will, without any drama nor doubt, kill us,” the email read.
Yaser Said, who had been sought on a capital murder warrant since the slayings, was placed on the FBI’s most-wanted list. He was finally arrested in August 2020 in Justin, about 35 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Dallas. His son, Islam Said, and his brother, Yassim Said, were subsequently convicted of helping him evade arrest.