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Yaser Said found guilty of capital murder in 2008 slayings of daughters, Sarah and Amina

Yaser Said was on trial for the fatal shootings of 18-year-old Amina Said and 17-year-old Sarah Said in Irving.

Patricia Owens holds up photos
Patricia Owens holds up photos of her daughters 18-year-old Amina Said (center) and 17-year-old Sarah Said as she walks up to the stand to give a victim impact statement to Yaser Said after his trial at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.(Liesbeth Powers / Staff Photographer)

By Krista M. Torralva and Maggie Prosser

Patricia Owens held up glossy pictures of her smiling teenage daughters and read softly from a statement directed at their murderer.

Then her voice grew louder and stronger. She removed her glasses,looked up and locked eyes with Yaser Said. Said, Owens’ ex-husband and her daughters’ father, squinted and furrowed his brow across the courtroom not long after he was convicted of capital murder.

“I’m not scared of you anymore,” she said, no longer reading what she prepared. “You took my life, you took my family all in one day. You can keep those evil eyes on me as long as you want but you will never break me down again.”

Baharan Muse
Yaser Said spoke to defense attorney Baharan Muse after this trial at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Tuesday. Said was convicted of the capital murder of his daughter, 18-year-old Amina Said and 17-year-old Sarah Said, on New Years Day 2008.(Liesbeth Powers / Staff Photographer)

A Dallas County jury found Said guilty of capital murder Tuesday and a judge sentenced him tolife in prison 14 years after he killed Amina andSarah Said. Thejury deliberated for three hours after six days of testimony before reaching a verdict.

The girls were described throughout the trial as smart and bubbly sisters who dreamed of becoming doctors.

Owens and her sister, Connie Moggio, addressed Said in a crowded courtroom Tuesday afternoon. Owens repeatedly called Said the “devil” in her impassioned victim impact statement.

Said, 65, whipped his head between a translator and defense lawyer Bradley Lollar, muttering loudly and waving his hands. At one point, state District Judge Chika Anyiam told Lollar to instruct Said to sit quietly “so the family can say their piece.”

“You have their blood on your hands,” Owens said. Many of the jurors watched Owens’ statement from the courtroom gallery after being dismissed from jury duty. “You deserve a lot more than what the judge has gave [sic] to you. You deserve to die now.”

Patricia Owens
Patricia Owens held photos of her daughter 17-year-old Sarah Said as she walks up to the stand to give a victim impact statement to Yaser Said on Tuesday.(Liesbeth Powers / Staff Photographer)

A taxi driver found the girls’ bodies on New Year’s Day 2008, bloodied and slumped over, in a cab outside the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas, which is part of Irving. Amina, 18, was shot twice and Sarah, 17, was shot nine times.

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. Speaking outside the courtroom, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot called Said “the epitome of evil.” Creuzot’s office has not sought the death penalty in any case since he assumed office in 2019.

“He will die in prison, which is our goal for him,” Creuzot said.

Said also faces a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for the years he spent evading authorities. Said was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list before his capture in August 2020 at a Denton County family home.

Said’s son, Islam Said, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for helping him hide. Said’s brother, Yassein Said, got 12 years for the same charge.

“Not only did you abuse our daughters, you brainwashed our son,” Owens said.

Patricia Owens, the mother of Amina
Patricia Owens, the mother of Amina Said and Sarah Said, reacted to hearing the 911 call from her daughters during closing arguments in the trial of Yaser Said on Tuesday.(Liesbeth Powers / Staff Photographer)

Until the trial, Owens said she hadn’t seen Said since the day of the slayings. Owens divorced Said while he was on the run.

Defense lawyers said they intend to appeal the verdict. Said has maintained his innocence.

Said was the last witness to testify. On the stand Monday, he denied killing his daughters and said he loved them. He said he was being followed that night in his taxi and he ran to safety, abandoning the girls. He said he didn’t think anyone would harm Amina and Sarah.

Edgar Ruiz, Amina’s then-boyfriend, testified last week that he trailed Said’s orange Jet Taxi cab the night of the shooting. Said told jurors he saw headlights, pulled into a cab stand at a strip club and fled, leaving a gun in the cab.

“We all want justice for Amina. And we all want justice for Sarah,” said defense attorney Joseph Patton earlier Tuesday during lawyers’ closing arguments before the 12-person jury began deliberating.

“We all want to respect the lives that they lived and the lives that they lost,” Patton added. But justice is not convicting an innocent man.”

defense attorney Baharan Muse
During closing arguments, defense attorney Baharan Muse held a copy of the email sent to a Lewisville ISD teacher detailing plans for 18-year-old Amina Said and 17-year-old Sarah Said to run from their father.(Liesbeth Powers / Staff Photographer)

Prosecutor Brandi Mitchell called Said’s testimony “absurd” during closing arguments. Prosecutors painted Said as a controlling and abusive father and husband. Owens told jurors last week she left Said countless times, and the final time was days before the girls’ slayings. Amina, Sarah, Owens and the girls’ boyfriends got an apartment in Tulsa but returned to North Texas two days before their murders.

A Lewisville High School teacher testified that Amina sent an email aboutplans to run away from her father because she feared him. Amina wroteSaid would “without any drama or doubt, kill us.”

Prosecutor Lauren Black argued Sarah said who the killer was in her 911 call where she said, “My dad shot me.”

Owens pressed a tissue to her eyes and her shoulders shook as Sarah’s cries rang through the courtroom.

Prosecutor Lauren Black
Prosecutor Lauren Black gave her closing remarks on Tuesday. (Liesbeth Powers / Staff Photographer)

“I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m dying,” Sarah wailed.

Prosecutors urged jurors to rely on Sarah’s 911 call.

“Sarah Said tells you who her killer is,” Black said. “She’s screaming out from the grave right now. … All signs point to Yaser Said. No one else.”

One ofSaid’s lawyers, Baharan Muse, called the police investigation and prosecution “disappointing, ignorant and offensive.”

Irving police detectives told jurors they did not test the girls’ boyfriends or the taxi for gunshot residue and did not take fingerprints or DNA.

The defense team tried to cast suspicion on the boyfriends, alleging they created the narrative that Amina and Sarah feared their father. Muse suggested Amina had plans to marry another young man and Ruiz was upset when he found out.

Sarah and Amina
Photos of Sarah and Amina Said were shown earlier this week in the capital murder trial of Yaser Said. He was found guilty in their slayings on Tuesday.(Shafkat Anowar / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The other man and his mother were in the courthouse last week, but they were not asked to testify.

A theory that the shootings were so-called honor killings spread quickly and was further fueled after the 2014 documentary, The Price of Honor, and when the FBI called the murders honor killings on their website.

Irving detective Joe Hennig testified he asked the FBI to remove the honor killings narrative from their website and the department rejected that characterization.

“There’s no such thing as an honor killing. You kill somebody, there is no honor to it. It’s a murder,” Hennig said.

Yaser
Yaser Said (right), 65, looked at the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive poster with his picture on it during his testimony Monday.(Liesbeth Power / Staff Photographer)

In her victim impact statement, Moggio, the girls’ aunt, dismissed Said’s story that someone else was responsible for their murders and that he loved his daughters.

“The only thing you’ve done for your family’s name is stain it with Amina and Sarah’s blood,” Moggio said.

“Now Yaser, it’s your turn to get what you gave — a prison to call home.”

Photos: Yaser Said Found Guilty Of Capital Murder In 2008 Slayings Of Daughters, Sarah And Amina

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