Texas trial begins for man accused of murdering his daughters

DALLAS (AP) —A man who evaded arrest for more than 12 years after being accused of fatally shooting his two teenage daughters in a taxi parked near a hotel near Dallas was “obsessed with possession and control,” a prosecutor said during opening statements of his murder case.

“He checked what they were doing, who they spoke to, who they could be friends with, if they were and who they could date,” prosecutor Lauren Black said. “And he checked everything in his household.”

Yaser Said, 65, is accused of murdering 18-year-old Amina Said and 17-year-old Sarah Said on New Year’s Day in 2008. Said, who pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, faces an automatic life sentence if convicted.

About a week before the sisters were murdered, she and their mother fled their home in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville to Oklahoma to get away from Yaser Said, who worked as a cab driver, Black said. The sisters had become “very fearful for their lives” and the decision to leave was made after Said “put a gun to Amina’s head and threatened to kill her,” the prosecutor said.

But, Black said, in another act of “control” and “manipulation” by Said, he told them he had changed and convinced them to return home. The night the sisters were shot, their father wanted to take them to a restaurant alone, she said.

In a letter to the judge overseeing the case, Said said he was unhappy with his children’s “dating activities” but denied killing his daughters. Defense attorney Joseph Patton said in opening statements that the evidence would not support a conviction, that the police focused too quickly on Said and suggested that anti-Muslim sentiment played in that focus. Said was born in Egypt.

Before the sisters were found shot to death in a taxi parked at a hotel in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Sarah Said managed to call 911 using a cell phone, the operator told her that her father had shot her and that she was dying.

Black said Sarah Said was shot nine times and Amina Said twice.

In moments of extreme trauma, such as being shot multiple times, people can have hallucinations, Patton said.

After the sisters were found fatally shot in the taxi, police contacted the taxi’s registered owner, who said Yaser Said had been driving the taxi for the past 10 days, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.

Said, who has been wanted on a murder warrant since the murders, was… The FBI’s most wanted list. He was finally arrested in August 2020 in Justin, about 40 miles northwest of Dallas. His son, Islam Said, and his brother, Yassim Said, were subsequently convicted of helping to evade arrest.

Black said the sisters, both high school students in Lewisville, dreamed of becoming doctors, and that Yaser Said got “boosted” as they grew up and became better educated and independent.

“When they had more independence, that was less control for him,” Black said.

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