Yaser Said was found guilty of murder in the deaths of his two daughters
DALLAS, TEXAS (CBSDFW.com) – Yaser Said, 65, was found guilty of murder in the murders of his two daughters Sarah, 17, and Amina, 18.
A Dallas County jury reached its verdict after about three hours of deliberation on Tuesday.
On Monday, Said defended himself and denied killing the teenagers, both students at Lewisville High School.
“Definitely not, I didn’t kill my daughter,” said Said, whose Arabic testimony was translated into English.
Said testified that while driving to dinner with his daughters the night they were killed, he thought someone was following the taxi. He said he didn’t know who it could be but suggested it could be a friend of his daughters. He testified that he was afraid someone would harm him, so he left his daughters in a taxi and ran into the nearby woods.
“I didn’t expect anyone to harm them,” the witness said.
Amina Said’s boyfriend testified that on the night she and her sister were killed, he and his father had seen them riding in a taxi with their father.
The sisters were found dead in Said’s taxi on New Year’s Day 2008. Sarah Said was shot nine times and Amina Said was shot twice. The jurors heard a 911 call Sarah Said made on her cell phone, telling the operator that her father had shot her.
“Help,” Sarah said during the 911 call. “I’m dying. Oh my God. Stop.”
In a letter to the judge overseeing the case, Said admitted he was unhappy with his children’s “dating activities” but again, denied killing his daughter.
Said, who testified that he was born in Egypt, came to the US in 1983 and later became an American citizen in my culture, said: “I am very upset because in my culture it is a something unpleasant.
Gail Gattrell, the sisters’ great-aunt, called the death an “honor murder” in which a woman was murdered by a relative to protect her family’s honor.
Prosecutor Lauren Black said in the opening that the sisters were “frightened for their lives”, and the decision to leave was made after Said “put a gun to Amina’s head and threatened to kill her.” Black told jurors Said was “obsessed with possession and control.”
Said’s ex-wife, Patricia Owens, testified that Said eventually convinced her to return to Texas from Oklahoma.
Defense attorney Joseph Patton said in opening statements that the evidence would not support conviction and that police were too quick to focus on Said. He also says that in extremely traumatic moments, like being shot multiple times, people can hallucinate.
Said now faces a life sentence in prison without parole.