Teens Amina and Sarah Said fled their home in fear of their lives before being lured back and shot dead by Yaser Said, prosecutors say
A father accused of murdering his two teenage daughters before evading arrest for 12 years was “obsessed with possession and control”, prosecutors said in the opening arguments of his capital murder trial in Texas.
Yaser Said, 65, allegedly shot Amina Said, 18, and 17-year-old Sarah Said and left their bodies in his taxi outside of a hotel in Irving on New Year’s Day 2008 in a so-called “honour killing”.
Prosecutor Lauren Black told the court that the sisters and their mother fled their Dallas home about a week before the killings after Mr Said put a gun to Amina’s head and threatened to kill her, the Associated Press reported.
But Mr Said lured them back by convincing them he had changed, in what Ms Black described as another act of “control” and “manipulation”.
The court heard that Mr Said was a domineering, violent and manipulative father who disapproved of her daughter’s dating habits.
“He controlled what they did, who they talked to, who they could be friends with, if they and who they could date,” Ms Black said, according to the Associated Press. “And he controlled everything in his household.”
Prosecutors read an email sent by Amina Said to her high school history teacher a few days before she and her sister were killed in which she said they did not want to live by their father’s culture and marry men “we don’t know or love.”
“I know that he will search until he finds us, and he will without any drama nor doubt kill us,” the email read.
The prosecutor told the court Mr Said drove the girls to a hotel parking lot in Irving, Texas, and shot them multiple times inside his taxicab. Before she died, Sarah called 911 to say: “Help, my dad shot me! I’m dying, I’m dying!”
Ms Black said Sarah was shot nine times and Amina was shot twice.
Mr Said remained on the run for 12 years after the killings, and was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 2014. The fugitive was finally arrested in August 2020 in Justin, about 35 miles (60 kms) northwest of Dallas.
Mr Said’s son Islam Said and brother Yassim Said were later convicted of helping him evade arrest.
Defence attorney Joseph Patton said in opening statements that the police had been too quick to focus on the Egyptian-born Said and suggested that anti-Muslim sentiment was a factor.
He claimed that Sarah Said may have been hallucinating due to extreme trauma when she told police her father had shot her.