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The defendant brought his children to dinner under the pretext of killing them

Yaser Said: The defendant brought his children to dinner under the pretext of killing them
Texas cab driver accused of murdering his two children because he was ‘too American’

The trial of a Texas father accused of killing his two daughters in 2008 while on the FBI’s Most Wanted List and evading capture over the following 12 years began Tuesday. Yaser Abdel Said, 65, faces a murder trial and a life sentence without the possibility of parole if proven guilty.

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The remains of Amina, 18, and Sarah, 17, who had both been shot multiple times, were found in their father’s taxi outside the Hotel Omni in Irving. Just before she died, Sarah dialed 911 and told the operator, “My father shot me; Help! I’m really, really dying!’

They were allegedly killed by Egyptian immigrant Said because they were “too American”. His wife Patricia Owens previously told Fox News that Said became angry when he learned his daughters were dating non-Muslim men. According to Owens, he is said to have stated that he did not want to raise “whores for daughters”. She filed for divorce after her daughters were killed.

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Said allegedly took the girls on New Year’s Day on the premise of taking them to a nearby restaurant in Lewisville, Texas, but instead drove them to Irving, Texas, where he is accused of killing them in his cab.

Prosecutor Lauren Black told the court Tuesday that “this case is about a man obsessed with possessions and power.” According to Black, “He controlled what they did, who they talked to, who they could be friends with, and whether or not they were allowed to date.” And he was in complete control of everything in his house.

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Amina’s boyfriend told the court that she “knew she was going to die” when she reluctantly returned to her home on New Year’s Eve after fleeing to Tulsa, Oklahoma with her mother, sister and friends. She reportedly said she would never see him again before she died. She returned home on January 1, 2008 and died that evening.

The bodies of Amina and Sarah were found in their father’s taxi parked outside an Irving hotel on January 1, 2008.

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After their father put a gun to Amina’s head in 2007, the girls and their mother left their home before Christmas, according to prosecutors. Amina’s history teacher allegedly claimed the 18-year-old wrote her in an email about her plans to leave home, saying, “He will kill us without drama or hesitation.” By the time she was out of the house, she was demanding the teacher to keep her plans a secret.

But according to Black, Said convinced her to return home by pretending to have changed, in yet another incident of “control” and “manipulation” on his behalf. She explained that on the night the sisters were shot, her father had intended only to take the two out to dinner. Black remarked, “They were two young, energetic young women.” “Normal young girls looking for a settled existence.”

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After moving to Tulsa, Sarah and her mother, Patricia Owens, decided to spend New Year’s Eve back in their hometown. Amina came back with trepidation.

In a letter to the judge overseeing the case, Said expressed anger at his children’s “dating activities” but denied killing his daughters. Defense attorney Joseph Patton claimed in his opening statement that the evidence could not support a conviction, that Said, who was born in Egypt, received undue police attention and that anti-Muslim prejudice may have played a role in that focus.

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“For the sake of its history and purpose, government should neither generalize nor criminalize an entire culture. Yaser is wanted by the authorities because he was a Muslim in 2008,” Patton said.

His defense claims that no one will admit to seeing Said at the scene and that the police should have asked about Amina’s boyfriend or the girls’ mother. He said: “Amina and Sarah were last seen by them while they were alive. According to Amina’s friend, Said and both girls were in his taxi just before the shooting, and he and his father followed them briefly out of concern.” Amina’s friend, Edgar Ruiz, explained: “She didn’t look like she wanted to be there; her eyes were filled with terror.”

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After the murders, Said ran away and was found about 30 miles from the scene in 2020. His then 19-year-old son Islam and his brother Yassein were both held responsible for housing a wanted criminal. Islam was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Yassein to 12 years.

After Said’s arrest, Owens told the Dallas Morning News, “My daughters were kind, caring, smart, loved everyone and helped everyone.” They were two of the coolest kids in the world and what happened to them wasn’t fair.

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More than 58 people, including the girls’ mother, regional and federal detectives and experts on Muslim culture, are expected to be called for testimony. The judge also gave prosecutors permission to brief the jury on allegations that Said molested his own children; Those allegations were eventually dropped.

The death penalty is not an option in Said’s case. If found guilty of capital murder, he would receive a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

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