The ex-wife of an Egyptian man on trial for the murder of their two daughters for dating American boys called him the devil as she alleged 15 years of abuse under him.
When prosecutors asked Patricia Owens to identify ex-husband Yaser Said, 65, in court on Thursday, she pointed at the man accused of killing her two daughters, 17-year-old Sarah and 18-year-old Amina, NBC 5 reported.
‘That devil there,’ she said as she testified about years of abuse she and her two daughters allegedly suffered at the hands of Said.
The Egyptian-born cab driver, who lived with his family just north of Dallas, allegedly shot and killed his daughters in his taxi after telling them they were going out to eat on New Year’s Day in 2008.
It is widely speculated Said committed an honor killing – a practice where individuals are murdered for bringing perceived shame on their family – after he discovered the girls had non-Muslim boyfriends and thought they were becoming ‘too American.’
Patricia Owens (pictured) called her ex-husband, Yaser Said, ‘that devil’ during the murder trial of their two teenage daughters on Thursday
Said, 65, is accused of shooting to death 17-year-old Sarah and 18-year-old Amina on New Years Day in 2008 in what prosecutors are calling ‘honor killings’ because the girls had allegedly shamed him for being ‘too American’
Sarah (left) and Amina (right) had fled from their father multiple times before their deaths
During her testimony, Owens said she married Said in 1987 when she was just 15 and he was 29, giving birth to her three children within 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 with all three kids for months before eventually returning to the family’s home near Waco and telling the girls to recant their stories.
Owens and her daughters fled again in 2007, moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma, after the girls said they feared for their lives if they lived together with their father.
She noted that Said would allegedly look over 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 because they were afraid there would be ‘repercussions’ if they didn’t.
When prosecutors asked Owens if she knew what would happen when they returned, she said: ‘Part of me did. Part of me didn’t.’
Pictured: Yaser Said during his trial. He refused to look at officials who detailed the girls’ bullet-ridden bodies that were found inside his cab
Owens claimed Said would go through each of the girls’ phones and call their contacts to find out if they were a boy or a girl
The heartbroken mother described Said is abusive and controlling, and said she kept going back to him because she was afraid of the ‘repercussions’ if she didn’t
In the years following the 1998 allegations, friends of the girls reported they often saw them with bruises on their bodies or witnessed Said being physically violent to his family.
The girls reportedly confided in friends that their father was obsessively controlling, and that they often feared he was surveilling them wherever they went.
In a home video recorded by Said, the girls are filmed in their bedroom while Said can be heard suggestively saying ‘Sarah sleeps with her pants? Mmm, very nice,’ and ‘Wow, look at those eyes. I got my eye on you.’
Along with Owen’s testimony, the court was also shown the bullet-riddled clothes of the victims and heard the 911 call Sarah made immediately following the shooting.
‘Help, my dad shot me! I’m dying,’ Sarah could be heard in the call she managed to make after she was shot. Investigators said Amina was killed instantly.
Police received Sarah’s frantic 911 call at about 7:30pm on that New Year’s Day. Though she accused her father in the call, she seemed to lose consciousness before dispatchers could determine her location or any other information.
Shortly after the call, the cops received another call from a man reporting two women unconscious in a car in the parking lot of the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas.
There, police found the girls dead inside their father’s taxi with multiple gunshot wounds each.
Said immediately became the prime suspect, and when authorities raided the family’s home the next day he was nowhere to be found.
Said (right) pictured with his son Islam, and daughters Sarah (center, right) and Amina (left). Islam helped harbor his father after he allegedly murdered the girls
Said spent six years on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list
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 spent six years on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
He was found hiding out in Justin, Texas – barely 30 miles from the scene of the murder – where he had been being harbored by his son, Islam, who, at the time of the killings, was aged 19, and brother Yassein, who was approximately 45.
Both relatives were arrested after the capture and are serving sentences in federal prison.
Owens said she never talked with Said again after the girls’ deaths and divorced him in 2009. She said she feared her ex-husband would turn up and kill her one day.
In 2011, while Said was still at large, Owens told The Dallas Morning News that she thought the killings could have been because of her ex-husband’s belief that the girls were shaming the family with their western ways.
‘He would say things like, ‘They’re becoming too American,” she said.