Dallas, TX (CBSDFW.com) – Yaser Said, 65, was convicted of murdering two daughters, Sarah, 17, and Amina, 18.
A Dallas County jury reached a verdict Tuesday after deliberating for about three hours.
On Monday, Sayid took up the defense and denied murdering a teenager who was a student at Louisville High School.
“Absolutely not. I did not kill my daughters,” said Said, whose testimony in Arabic was translated into English.
Said testified that he thought someone was chasing a taxi while he was driving to dinner with his daughters the night they were killed. He said he did not know who it was, but thought it might be a friend of his daughters. We left them in a taxi and fled into the nearby woods.
“I didn’t expect anyone to harm them,” he said.
Amina Said’s boyfriend testified that he and his father were seen riding in a taxi with their father the night she and her sister were killed.
The sisters were found dead in Said’s taxi on New Year’s Day 2008. Sarah Her Said was shot her 9 times and Amina Her Said her 2 times. A jury heard her 911 call from Sarah Said’s cell phone and told her operator that her father had shot her.
“Help me,” I heard Sarah say to 911. “I’m dying. Oh my God, please stop.”
In a letter to the judge overseeing the case, Sayid admitted that he was not happy with his children’s “dating activities,” but denied killing his daughter.
Said testified that he was born in Egypt, came to the United States in 1983, and later became a U.S. citizen.
The sisters’ great-aunt, Gail Gatrell, called these deaths “honor killings,” in which women were murdered by relatives to protect family honor.
Prosecutor Lauren Black said in an opening statement that the sisters were “extremely afraid for their lives” and the decision to leave after Sayid “put a gun to Amina’s head and threatened to kill her”. Black told jurors that Said was “obsessed with possession and control.”
Sayid’s ex-wife, Patricia Owens, testified that Said eventually convinced her to move back to Texas from Oklahoma.
Defense attorney Joseph Patton said in his opening statement that the evidence did not support a conviction and that the police had focused too quickly on Sayid. It was said that people could hallucinate during traumatic moments.
Said is currently facing life in prison without parole.