The ex-wife of an Egyptian man who was on trial for the murder of their two daughters for dating American boys called him the devil for claiming he had been abused 15 years under him.
When prosecutors asked Patricia Owens on Thursday to identify ex-husband Yaser Said, 65, she pointed to the man accused of murdering her two daughters, 17-year-old Sarah and 18-year-old Amina. NBC 5 reported.
“That devil over there,” she said as she testified to years of abuse she and her two daughters allegedly suffered at the hands of Said.
The Egyptian-born taxi driver, who lived with his family just north of Dallas, is said to have shot his daughters in his taxi after telling them they were going out to dinner on New Year’s Day in 2008.
It is widely speculated that Said committed an honor killing — a practice of killing individuals for shame on their families — after he discovered the girls had non-Muslim boyfriends and thought they were getting “too American.”
Patricia Owens (pictured) called her ex-husband, Yaser Said, “that devil” during Thursday’s murder trial of their two teenage daughters
Said, 65, is accused of shooting 17-year-old Sarah and 18-year-old Amina on New Year’s Day in 2008 in what prosecutors call ‘honour killing’ because the girls allegedly shamed him for being ‘too American’
Sarah (left) and Amina (right) had fled from their father several times before their deaths
During her testimony, Owens said she married Said in 1987 when she was only 15 and he 29, and gave birth to her three children in the first three years of their marriage.
In 1998, Owens filed a report with the Hill County Sheriff’s Office accusing Said of sexually abusing the two girls.
She said she fled for months with all three children before finally returning to the family’s home near Waco and telling the girls to recant their stories.
Owens and her daughters fled again in 2007 and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, after the girls said they feared for their lives living with their father.
She noted that Said would reportedly check the girls’ phone records and call the numbers to see if they belonged to a boy or a girl.
Despite fleeing from him, Owens and the girls returned to the Texas home fearing “repercussions” if they didn’t.
When prosecutors asked Owens if she knew what would happen if they returned, she said, “Part of me did. A part of me isn’t.’
Pictured: Yaser Said at his trial. He declined to look at officials giving details of the girls’ bullet-infested bodies found in his cabin
Owens claimed Said would search all the girls’ phones and call their contacts to find out if they were a boy or a girl.
The heartbroken mother described Said as being abusive and controlling, saying she kept going back to him because she feared the “repercussions” if she didn’t.
In the years following the 1998 allegations, friends of the girls reported seeing them often with bruises on their bodies or that Said was physically abusive towards his family.
The girls reportedly told friends that their father was obsessively in charge and that they often feared he was watching them wherever they went.
In a home video recorded by Said, the girls are filmed in their bedroom, while Said can be heard suggestively: ‘Sarah sleeps with her pants? Mmm, very beautiful’ and ‘Wow, look at those eyes. I am watching you.’
In addition to Owen’s testimony, the court was also shown the victims’ bullet-riddled clothes and heard the 911 call Sarah made immediately after the shooting.
‘Help, my father shot me! I’m going to die,” Sarah was heard in the phone call she managed to make after being shot. Investigators said Amina died instantly.
Police received Sarah’s frantic 911 call at about 7:30 p.m. that New Year’s Day. Although she accused her father during the call, she appeared to lose consciousness before dispatchers could determine her location or other information.
Shortly after the call, police received another call from a man reporting two women passed out in a car in the parking lot of the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas.
There, the police found the girls dead in their father’s taxi, each with multiple gunshot wounds.
Said immediately became the prime suspect, and when authorities raided the family’s home the next day, he was nowhere to be seen.
Said (right) pictured with his son Islam, and daughters Sarah (center, right) and Amina (left). Islam helped shelter his father after he allegedly killed the girls
Said was on the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives list for six years
Said’s son, Islam (left) and his brother, Yassein (right). They are both serving time in federal prison for harboring Said while he was a wanted fugitive
Said was on the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives list for six years.
He was found hiding in Justin, Texas — barely 30 miles from the murder scene — where he was housed by his son, Islam, who was 19 years old at the time of the murders, and brother Yassein, who was about 45.
Both family members were arrested after the arrest and are serving sentences in federal prison.
Owens said she never spoke to Said again after the girls’ deaths and divorced him in 2009. She said she was afraid her ex-husband would show up and kill her one day.
In 2011, while Said was still at large, Owens said: The Dallas Morning News that she thought the murders were the result of her ex-husband’s belief that the girls were dishonoring the family with their Western ways.
“He said things like, ‘They’re getting too American,'” she said.