On Monday, August 8, 2022, Yaser Said denied his involvement in the deaths of his daughters in 2008 during his capital murder trial. Said was arrested in 2020 for fatally shooting his teen daughters for their objectionable 'dating history'. If convicted, he faces an automatic life imprisonment sentence.
14 years after Sarah and Amina Said were found dead in their father's taxi, 65-year-old Yaser Said faces the jury. However, he has vehemently denied killing his daughters. He said in court:
"Definitely not, I did not kill my daughters."
The former taxi-cab driver claimed to have left behind his daughters, both very much alive, in his taxi on the way to getting dinner because he feared for his life.
Yaser Said believed that his car was being followed on that fateful night, and assumed that he was in mortal danger. He said that whoever was following him would not hurt his daughters.
However, on a 911 call made on New Year's Day by Sarah Said, which was presented to the jurors, she could be heard pleading for help and saying that her father shot her. On the call, she could be heard saying:
"Help. I'm dying. Oh my God. Stop it."
Sarah Said was shot nine times, while her sister Amina was shot twice. Referring to the physical trauma, defense attorney Joseph Patton attempted to dismiss Sarah's claim by stating that due to being shot several times, she could have been hallucinating while making the call.
Yaser Said, who evaded arrest for 12 years and made it to the FBI's Most Wanted List, feared that he would not receive a fair trial on religious grounds.
On Monday, both the prosecution and the defense rested their cases. The closing arguments are expected to be made on Tuesday morning.
Great-aunt accuses Yaser Said of committing 'honor killings'
In a letter presented by the prosecution, Yaser Said expressed his displeasure at his teen daughters and their "dating activity." The 65-year-old Egyptian man felt that his daughters were moving away from their roots and becoming 'too American' in their behavior. In his testimony, Yaser Said stated:
"I was upset because in my culture it's something to get upset about."
However, Amina and Sarah Said's great-aunt, Gail Gattrell, accused the father of committing 'honor killings' because he believed that the girls were bringing shame to the family name.
On the night of New Year's Day, he had taken the sisters out to dinner to "solve" the problem. A few hours later, they were shot to death. Their father would spend the next 12 years on the run.
In her opening statement, prosecutor Lauren Black stated that the girls lived in a dangerous environment, and their decision to leave Texas with their mother was made after Said threatened to kill them:
"...put a gun to Amina's head and threatened to kill her."
Said was arrested in August 2020 from somewhere near northwest Dallas, where he was hiding with his son, Islam Said, and brother, Yassim Said.