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The Texas man accused of murdering his teenage daughters as part of an alleged ‘honor killing’ has been convicted.
Yaser Abdel Said, 65, was found guilty of the 2008 capital murders of his daughters, Sarah Said, 17, and Amina Said, 18, according to the Dallas Morning News. The Dallas County jury returned a guilty verdict on Tuesday following about three hours of deliberations at the end of the six-day trial.
Delivering their closing arguments Tuesday morning, prosecutors referred to Said’s testimony — during which he denied having a role in his daughters’ shooting deaths — as “absurd,” according to the outlet.
Judge Chika Anyiam handed the mandatory life sentence to the 65-year-old taxicab driver.
Said showed no emotion as the verdict was read aloud, according to Fox Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate KDFW,
Said’s now- ex-wife — and Sarah and Amina's mother — Patricia Owens, addressed Said following the verdict.
“You deserve to die now, not in prison,” Owens stated. “You took my life. You took my family all in one night.”
Sarah and Amina Said were found shot to death in their father’s taxicab in the Los Colinas neighborhood of Irving, Texas, in front of the Omni Mandalay Hotel. Prosecutors and relatives referred to the murder as an “honor killing,” claiming the Egyptian-born man killed his daughters because he was unhappy with the teenagers dating American, non-Muslim boys.
“In my culture, it’s something to get upset about,” Said testified on Monday.
One of the pivotal moments of the capital murder trial surrounded a 911 call placed by Sarah Said after the shooting, where she told dispatchers, “my dad shot me,” with her dying breaths.
On Monday, Said testified through a translator that he and the girls were being followed and that he left the girls with his cab to let them solve their problems with the people he believed were his daughters’ friends. Said claimed he then fled to a wooded area before going on the run.
Prosecutors challenged his testimony, noting the 12 years Said spent in hiding — which earned him a spot on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list — before his 2020 capture in Justin, Texas, just 30 miles from the crime scene. (Said is currently facing a federal charge of unlawful flight from prosecution.)
“It is not logical,” Prosecutor Brandi Mitchell said of Said's testimony in closing arguments on Tuesday, according to the Dallas Morning News. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
“We all want justice for Amina. And we all want justice for Sarah,” said defense attorney Joseph Patton. “We all want to respect the lives that they lived and the lives that they lost. But justice is not convicting an innocent man.”
Jurors previously heard the harrowing testimony of several people tied to the Said family, including the victims’ boyfriends, who referred to Said’s less-than-lenient methods for raising his children. Said was said to be controlling, and prosecutors claimed he felt he was losing his grip of control over his family.
Jurors also heard an e-mail written by Amina to one of her teachers.
“We don’t want police involved until we are totally ready,” Amina wrote. “I am so scared right now. It’s crazy. OK, well, as you know, we’re not allowed to date, and my dad is arranging my marriage. My dad said I cannot put it off anymore, and I have to get married this year.”
On Christmas Day of 2007 — four days after Amina penned the letter — Patricia Owens, her daughters and the girls’ boyfriends fled Texas and rented a place in Oklahoma. Their attempt to escape was prompted by Said allegedly pulling a gun on his oldest daughter, according to the Dallas Morning News.
They returned to Lewisville, Texas home just one day before the double murder, reportedly at Owens’ behest. Patricia Owens and Sarah went back to Said's home, while Amina stayed at her boyfriend Edgar Ruiz's house until New Year’s Day. That's when Owens showed up and forced Amina to go with her back to her father's home.
“She knew she was going to die,” Ruiz testified.
Ruiz stated he saw the girls with Said in his taxicab — but without Owens — later that day, just a couple of hours before they were shot multiple times.
Yaser Said will not be eligible for parole.
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