A jury recently convicted a Dallas man charged with the fatal shooting of his two teenage daughters in 2008.
On August 9, a jury found Yaser Said guilty of capital murder in the killings of 18-year-old Amina Said and 17-year-old Sarah Said. The two girls were found shot to death in a taxi that had been parked close to a hotel in the Dallas suburb of Irving on January 1, 2008.
One of them, who police later determined was Sarah, had called 911 and told the operator she had been shot by her father and was dying. “Help. I’m dying. Oh, my God. Stop it,” she can be heard saying on the 911 recording.
However, police said they could not find the teens immediately as much of what Sarah said was unclear. She wasn’t able to provide the address where she was.
They were later found thanks to another call from a hotel an hour later. The caller told police that he saw two bodies in a cab, one in the back and the other in the front passenger seat. He also said there was blood at the scene, and he told police they looked like they were dead.
Authorities said Sarah was shot nine times while Amina was shot twice. A police report stated that a family member said that Said threatened to harm Sarah for going on a date with a person who wasn’t Muslim. According to prosecutors, he once put a gun to Amina’s head and threatened to kill her.
Prosecutors added that the girls’ mother, Patricia Owens, fled with the girls the week before their deaths. They had left their home in Lewisville out of fear for their lives and had gone to Oklahoma.
Owens said her ex-husband was controlling, abusive, and angry that the girls were dating out of their culture. So at one point, she left with them. The girls were joined by their boyfriends, she said.
Owens, who is divorced from Said, testified in court that he convinced her to return to Texas, and she agreed, thinking she and her kids were safe. She added that she was scared Said would hurt them if they didn’t comply with his demands.
Before his eventual arrest in August 2020, authorities had been trying for over 12 years to apprehend Said since the killings. He had been on one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted lists.
Said’s son, Islam Said, 39, and brother, Yassein Said, 59, were found guilty of harboring the fugitive in a Bedford apartment and a home in Justin and helping him evade arrest. The two are serving 10 years and 12 years in federal prison, respectively.
Though Said entered a not guilty plea, he was convicted of capital murder. He was automatically sentenced to life in prison as prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty.
“You deserve a lot more than what the judge gave to you. You deserve to die,” Patricia said to Said in a victim impact statement. “You are a prisoner and a murderer and the devil.”
Prosecutor Lauren Black said during closing arguments that Said was “obsessed with possession and control.”
However, Brad Lollar, Chief Dallas County public defender, maintains Said’s innocence. He said the investigation failed to identify the real killer of the girls and promised to appeal the conviction. “This is a case where there are no witnesses,” Lollar said. “There’s no forensic science to it.”
Said denied killing his daughters in a letter to the judge. While he was not happy with his daughters’ involvement with men, he did not kill them, he claimed.
He also took the stand as the only defense witness on August 8 and told jurors that he was trying to take the two teens to dinner on that New Year’s Day. He had fled the taxi because he thought someone was following them, intending to kill him. Denying the accusations of killing his daughters, he said he regrets assuming the girls would be safe and leaving them alone that night.
Said further accused the FBI of not conducting a thorough investigation as he claimed they didn’t find the real culprit because they were so fixated on him. According to him, the fear of not getting a fair trial stopped him from turning himself into authorities.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot celebrated the prevalence of justice. “We’re here to offer condolences, continued condolence to this family, but we’re also here to see that justice is done, which it was,” he said. Creuzot also thanked investigators for their hard work and perseverance that led to Said’s apprehension.