HUNTSVILLE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — An execution date has been set for a Dallas man convicted of fatally shooting his two young daughters more than 16 years ago while their mother listened helplessly over the phone.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark says the agency has received court documents setting John Battaglia for lethal injection February 1.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in September that the 62-year-old Battaglia is competent to be executed. The appeals court had halted Battaglia’s scheduled December 2016 execution to review his competency after his attorney had appealed a lower court judge’s ruling that Battaglia was mentally competent.
It was 2001 when Battaglia shot and killed Faith and Liberty, his 9- and 6-year-old daughters, in his Deep Ellum apartment. He had picked up the children from his ex-wife in the parking lot of a shopping center for a court-ordered visit. Battaglia was under a court order to stay away from his ex-wife’s Highland Park home.
Not long after the girls were given to Battaglia, he got his former wife, Mary Jean Pearle, on the phone. “Why do you want daddy to go to jail,” one of the girls reportedly said to their mother. Seconds later, Pearle heard one of the children say “No, no, daddy,” then gunshots.
Hours later, Battaglia was found at a nearby tattoo shop getting two large red roses inked on his left arm to commemorate his daughters. When he walked outside, it took four officers to subdue and arrest him. A fully loaded revolver was found in his truck.
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