A Texas man indicted for murdered his two daughters in “honor killings” because they were dating American boys, were called “the devil” in court on Thursday by the girls’ mother, who described 15 years of abuse during their marriage.
Patricia Owens, Yaser Said’s ex-wife, had not seen him since New Year’s Day 2008 – when he took their daughters Amina, 18, and Sarah, 17, to dinner and insisted on going alone so they could talk.
Instead, prosecutors say, Said shot the girls multiple times in the taxi he was driving and left them for dead outside a hotel in suburban Irving.
Owens testified that she and the girls had just returned to their home in Lewisville, Texas, from Oklahoma, where they had gone to get away from Said. She knew she knew the girls were dating—and that Said would have been furious if he knew about it.
“I just thought he was going to punish them, like take their phone away and stuff like that,” she said.
But long before 2008, Owens testified, she and her daughters were abused by Said. She told the jury how she married Said in 1987 when she was just 15 and he was 29. She gave birth to Amina, Sarah and their brother Islam in the first three years of their marriage.
Owens claimed she left Said several times during the marriage and described him as controlling.
In 1998, while living near Waco, Texas, Owens filed a report with the Hill County Sheriff’s Office accusing Said of sexually abusing the two girls. She took all three children and left him for several months before returning and asking the girls to repeat their story.
“I was afraid of not going back,” Owens explained. “Yaser was abusive.”
In late 2007, Owens and her daughters fled again to Tulsa, Okla., after the girls feared their father would kill them if he found out they had both become engaged to their boyfriends. Owens said Said had previously threatened Amina with a gun.
The mother and daughters returned to Texas to finish their schooling on the promise that Said would leave the family home. Even then, Amina refused to go back to the house for fear of the consequences.
When prosecutors asked Owens if she knew what would happen when they returned, she replied, “Part of me did. Part of me didn’t.”
Earlier this week, prosecutors played a recording of a 911 call made by Sarah after she had been shot but was still alive.
“My dad shot me. I’m dying,” Sarah said in the recording.
Said, who was arrested in August 2020 after more than a decade on the lam, has maintained his innocence and his lawyer has argued that he has been targeted by law enforcement for being Muslim in a post-Sept. 11 world.
He will automatically serve a life sentence if found guilty.