Man found guilty of fatally shooting his 2 daughters in Texas

DALLAS (AP) — A suburban Dallas man who evaded arrest for more than 12 years after the 2008 shooting deaths of his two teenage daughters was convicted on Tuesday of the murders that prosecutors say were driven by his obsessive desire for control.

DALLAS (AP) — A suburban Dallas man who evaded arrest for more than 12 years after the 2008 shooting deaths of his two teenage daughters was convicted on Tuesday of the murders that prosecutors say were driven by his obsessive desire for control.

Yaser Said, 65, was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of Amina Said, 18, and Sarah Said, 17. Prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty, so along with the conviction, the judge sentenced Yaser Said to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The teenager’s mother, Patricia Owens, told her ex-husband in a victim impact statement given after the verdict and sentencing that she was no longer afraid of him.

“You can keep those evil eyes on me as long as you want. You’ll never break me again,” Owens said. “You can never hurt another person again.”

Prosecutor Lauren Black said in her closing statements that Said “manipulated and controlled this household.” She said that when Said’s daughters wanted to live their own lives, he could see he lost control. “He wasn’t going to be able to handle this, so he took their lives,” Black said.

The sisters were found shot dead in a cab their father was driving that was parked near a hotel in the Dallas suburb of Irving on New Years Day in 2008. Jurors heard a 911 call made by Sarah Said by cell phone, telling the operator that her father had shot her and she was dying.

“She’s screaming from the grave right now,” Black told jurors after playing the 911 call during closing statements.

Sarah Said was shot nine times and Amina Said was shot twice.

Defense lawyers, who say they will appeal the verdict, said people can hallucinate at times of extreme trauma, such as when they have been shot repeatedly. They also said the evidence did not support a conviction and that police were too quick to zero in on Said as a suspect.

A week before they were killed, the girls and their mother had fled their home in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville and traveled to Oklahoma to escape Said. The sisters’ boyfriends also joined them. The prosecutor said the sisters became “very scared for their lives” and decided to leave after their father “pointed a gun to Amina’s head and threatened to kill her”.

According to a police report, a family member told investigators that Saeed had at one point threatened “bodily harm” to one of his daughters for dating a non-Muslim.

In a letter to the judge before the trial, Said wrote that he was unhappy with the “romantic activity” of his daughters, but he denied killing them.

Owens, who divorced Said after the murders, testified that Said was violent and controlling, and convinced her to return to Texas from Oklahoma.

Owens testified that when she married Said she was 15 and he was 29. She told him when giving her victim impact statement that he “never treated me like a real person, a wife”. Instead, she said, she was just someone he could take his anger out on.

“Do you remember when you put the knife to my throat? I do. Do you remember when you pointed a gun at me? I do,” she said.

Said spoke on Monday, telling jurors he did not kill his daughters. Said told jurors that on the night the sisters were killed, he was taking them out to dinner because he wanted to “solve the problem” after they left the house. He said he thought someone was following them, so he left his daughters in the taxi and fled. He said he did not turn himself in to authorities because he feared he would not receive a fair trial.

Prosecutor Brandi Mitchell called her testimony “absurd”.

In a December 21, 2007 email that was entered into evidence, Amina Said told a teacher that she and her sister were planning to run away. She said they didn’t want to live according to the culture of their father, who was born in Egypt. Her father, she said, had “made our life a nightmare”.

“He will, without any drama or doubt, kill us,” the email read.

After the murders, Said was wanted on a capital murder warrant and was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list. He was finally arraigned 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.

Jamie Stengle, Associated Press