UPDATED 8/9/22 DALLAS (Court TV) — A jury has found Yaser Said guilty of killing his two teenage daughters in 2008. Following the verdict, Said was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Patricia Owens, the mother of victims Amina and Sarah Said, called her ex-husband “the devil” in her impact statement. Their aunt, Connie Moggio, told Said she “hopes” the rest of his life “is filled with nightmares.”
DALLAS (Court TV) — A father is facing life in prison for the 2008 shooting deaths of his teenage daughters.
Yaser Said is accused of killing 18-year-old Amina Said and 17-year-old Sarah Said on Jan. 1, 2008. Prosecutors allege the 65-year-old defendant murdered his daughters because he didn’t approve of them dating non-Muslim men and embracing the western lifestyle.
In her opening statement, prosecutor Lauren Black said the sisters had fled to Oklahoma with their mother and boyfriends days before they were killed. Black said they left because Said allegedly “put a gun to Amina’s head and threatened to kill her.” They returned to their Dallas home after Said convinced them he had changed his mind.
On the night of the killing, Said told his family he wanted to take his daughters to dinner alone. He allegedly shot the girls to death in his taxicab in a hotel parking lot. Sarah managed to call 911, telling a dispatcher, “My dad just shot me…I’m dying.”
Said evaded capture for 12 years, and was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Want Fugitives list in 2014. He was arrested Aug. 26, 2020 in Justin, Texas.
DAILY TRIAL HIGHLIGHTS
DAY 6 – 8/9/22
- The jury hears closing arguments
- READ MORE:
- The jury finds Yaser Said guilty of Capital Murder of Multiple Persons
- Yaser Said is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole
- Patricia Owens, the mother of Amina and Sarah Said, delivers her impact statement
- Connie Moggio, the aunt of Amina and Sarah Said, delivers her impact statement
- READ MORE:
DAY 5 – 8/8/22
- Prosecutors called their final witnesses, two agents with the FBI who conducted 24-hour surveillance of the Said family to generate leads on the whereabouts of Said. Agents learned of a property in Justin, TX, and began surveilling the location.
- Video captured Yassein Said and Islam Said visiting the property, taking groceries to the home, and removing trash. The two would then travel to a neighboring city and discard the garbage behind a local restaurant.
- Agents obtained a search warrant after noticing someone inside the home after Yassein and Islam left the property. Said was arrested at the Justin, TX, home without incident.
- During the home search, law enforcement found a secret room built into the home with a cot inside. The refrigerator was stocked with fresh food, a wig, and Said’s Egyptian passport.
- WATCH: Honor Killing Trial: Defendant Yaser Said Set to Testify
- In a surprise move, Yaser Said took the witness stand. Speaking through a translator, Said recounted what happened on January 1, 2008, the night he was taking his daughters to dinner at Denny’s. They were later found dead in his cab outside the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, TX.
- Said claimed he was angry with his daughters but denied killing them.
- His attorney asked him directly, “did you kill your daughters that night?” Said replied, “definitely no, I did not kill my daughters.”
- He said he loved his girls and took them for a ride on January 1, 2008, because he became concerned about their dating life. He claims they never made it to dinner because another car followed them, and he feared their friends wanted to assassinate him.
- He claims the girls were alive when he left the cab
- On cross-examination, Said became agitated when questioned by the prosecution.
- Said testified he had a cell phone with him in the cab but left it behind to escape whoever was following them. He left the girls in the car as well.
- Lead prosecutor Lauren Black asked Said, “If you didn’t kill your daughters, were you at the Waffle House for 12 years?”
- Said replied that he was “hiding from public places.”
- WATCH: Honor Killing Trial: Defendant on Cross-Examination
- Both sides rested their case. Closing arguments are set for Tuesday.
- READ: Man on trial in Texas says he did not kill 2 teen daughters
DAY 4 – 8/5/22
- The first week of trial wrapped with testimony from law enforcement, medical examiners, and the maintenance worker who reported Yaser Said living in an apartment in Bedford, Texas.
- FBI Special Agent Daniel Gimenez testified to the timeline leading up to Yaser Said’s arrest. Said had been on the run since the day of the murders – January 1, 2008. Investigators had a close encounter with Said in Bedford, Texas, three years before being caught in 2020.
- In August 2017, a Copper Canyon Apartments maintenance worker was asked to address a leaky pipe inside Apartment 348. An older man inside the residence opened the door, which had been locked inside. While inside the apartment, Said wore a hat and kept his head down to conceal his identity. There was one moment when Jorge Camacho saw his face. Camacho reported that Said was the person he said inside the residence.
- Law enforcement and members of the FBI quickly surrounded the property, but they were too late. Said had evaded capture once again. He jumped from the balcony leaving a crucial piece of evidence behind – his glasses, which he dropped while fleeing.
- Police learned of a property that Said’s nieces rented in Justin, TX – 40 miles outside of Dallas County. FBI surveilled the home observing Said’s son, Islam, and his brother, Yassein, entering the property with groceries and leaving with trash bags.
- In August 2020, police obtained a search warrant for the home in Justin, TX, and arrested Said without incident.
- WATCH: Honor Killing Trial: FBI Agent Testifies
- Testimony revealed that Amina was shot twice in the chest from a distance, and Sarah was shot nine times at close range. Amina died instantly. She had “three-water bottle full of blood insider her chest from her injuries.” Sarah managed to stay alive and call the police before she died. The injuries to her right lung and liver, and left kidney contributed to her death.
DAY 3 – 8/4/22
- Patricia Owens, the mother of victims Amina Said and Sarah Said, told jurors her ex-husband was abusive and controlling.
- Owens was 15 years old when she married 29-year-old Yaser Said in February 1987.
- A year after they married, she gave birth to their son, Islam.
- Amina Said was born March 2, 1989. Sarah Said was born March 6, 1990.
- Owens told the jury about some of instances when she left Said and later returned.
- In 2008, Owens and her daughters were working at Kroger, where the girls met their boyfriends.
- A week before their deaths, the sisters fled to Oklahoma with their boyfriends and Owens.
- They returned a few days later. Owens testifying she didn’t think anything would happen.
- On Jan. 1, 2008, Yaser Said became upset when Amina wasn’t home. Owens testifies she didn’t tell her husband that Amina was at her boyfriend’s house.
- When Amina arrives home, Yaser Said says he’s taking the girls to Denny’s. It was the last time Owens saw her husband and daughters.
- WATCH: Honor Killing Trial: Mother of Victims, Amina and Sarah Said, Takes the Stand
- READ MORE: Mom of 2 slain teens testifies at ex-husband’s Texas trial
- Owens was 15 years old when she married 29-year-old Yaser Said in February 1987.
- Jurors heard testimony from Lead Detective Randall Johnson, Detective John Schingle & Detective Joe Hennig of the Irving Police Department.
- Jihad Tafal and Abdel Monem Elhassan testified about Said switching cabs with Tafal.
DAY 2 – 8/3/22
- Jurors heard the 911 call allegedly made by Sarah Said on the night she died. She and her sister, Amina, were found shot to death outside the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas. Their father, Yaser Said, showed no emotion as the audio played in court.
- Sarah was crying for help during the call. She said, “I’m dying. My dad shot me. I’m dying.” The line remained open, but they could no longer hear the person who called. Dispatchers tried desperately to pinpoint Sarah’s location but could not do so.
- A taxi driver waiting for passengers at the hotel noticed that the cab in front of him was not moving. He got out of his vehicle to check if the person was okay and saw two people “hurt” inside the car. He immediately informed the doorman about what he had observed.
- Nathan Watson, Guest Service Manager at the hotel, was informed of the situation. Watson went to investigate, and what he saw prompted him to call the police.
- Employees at the hotel were familiar with the defendant but did not remember seeing him on January 1, 2008. The surveillance video did not offer any clues. The video was too grainy to make out the shadowy figure in the video.
- Investigators found that the girls had been shot multiple times at close range inside the cab. Spent bullet casings were found throughout the vehicle, along with a new bullet magazine, cigarette butts, and ashes. The person responsible had long left the scene.
- WATCH: Honor Killing Trial: Witnesses Describe Finding Victims in Cab
DAY 1 – 8/2/22
- Lead prosecutor Lauren Black tells the jury Yaser Said murdered his daughters because they brought disgrace to the family. The girls were dating non-Muslim boys and embracing the western lifestyle.
- Defense attorney Joseph Patton focuses on a different strategy, arguing his client was the target of police because he is a Muslim in a post-9/11 America. Patton added that no eyewitnesses or surveillance videos were captured of Said at the crime scene.
- Connie Moggio, the aunt of Amina and Sarah and sister of Patricia Owens, testified she last spoke with Amina hours before the girls died. She testified that Amina was upset her mother had returned home.
- Renee Hopkins, who taught the girls at Lewisville High School, testified they had confided in her about their home life. Amina emailed Hopkin on Dec. 21, 2007, saying they were running away from their dad and he had threatened to kill them both.
- Erik Panameno, the boyfriend of Sarah Said, said Sarah “always thought something would happen,” and she “encouraged him to keep going if anything happened to her.” He chose to go to Oklahoma with the girls after Amina revealed to everyone that her dad threatened her with a gun.
- Edgar Ruiz, the boyfriend of Amina Said, said once they returned to Lewisville, Patricia Said was insistent on Amina returning home and gave Amina false hope that things would be better.
- Amina’s last words before leaving Ruiz’s home were, “You didn’t try to protect me, and you will never see me again.”
- Ruiz told jurors that he and his father saw Yaser Said driving his daughters in a taxi shortly before the teens were killed. They followed them but eventually stopped.
- READ MORE:
Court TV Field Producer Tiffany Smith and Digital Content Manager Ivy Brown contributed to this report.