'Honor Killings' Trial: Opening statements begin Tuesday for father accused of murdering two daughters
DALLAS, Texas - Opening statements begin Tuesday in the trail of a man accused of murdering of his two daughters.
Police say Yaser Said shot his teenage daughters, 18-year-old Amina and 17-year-old Sarah, outside an Irving hotel in 2008.
He went into hiding for 12 years until detectives tracked him down in August 2020 at a home in Denton County.
This is a high-profile capital murder trial over a decade in the making. Opening statements began on Tuesday morning.
The prosecution described Amina and Sarah Said as smart girls who wanted to become doctors who were just seeking a normal life.
"The more independence that they got the defendant got angrier," prosecutors said during opening statements. "Because if they had more independence it was more control for him."
Prosecutors say that Amina was shot twice and Sarah was shot nine times.
At the heart of this case is a very telling 911 call made by one of the dying daughters.
It's been nearly 15 years since two sisters were found shot to death inside a taxicab in Irving.
The defense told the jury that while they expect to hear incriminating evidence the context of the situation needs to be considered.
Defense lawyers brought up what they called ‘anti-Muslim rhetoric’ following the 9-11 terror attacks, and claims that law enforcement quickly jumped to follow a 'narrative' about Said.
Said is charged in the deaths of his daughters on New Year’s Day 2008.
Detectives say Said took them for a ride in the cab borrowed from a friend, telling them they were going to get something to eat. Instead, investigators say he drove them to Irving and shot both of them inside the vehicle.
Said evaded capture for 12 years and was later found living in rural Denton County in 2020.
On Monday, jury selection began at the Dallas County Courthouse.
The case made national headlines after investigators in Irving said the girls' deaths were "honor killings," targeted by their father because they were not, in his view, following the tenets of their Islamic faith.
In her dying moments, Sarah called 911 saying their father had shot them.
Yaser Said arrives in court on August 2, 2022. He is accused of murdering his two daughters in what investigators call 'honor killings'
While the police investigation points to rage and retaliation, the prosecution has not presented a clear motive.
Still, lawyers say under the Texas Penal Code, there is only two reasons a person can be justified in taking another person's life: in defense of yourself against the potential of deadly harm or the defense of a third person against deadly harm.
Said’s son and brother were convicted for helping him. Said’s son was sentenced to 10 years in prison and his brother got 12 years.
The Dallas County district attorney has said he won’t seek the death penalty. So, if convicted, Said will be automatically sentenced to life without parole.
RELATED: New details released into how authorities found man accused of ‘honor killings’ of two daughters in Irving