HUNTSVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – John David Battaglia, a former accountant, received lethal injection Thursday night for the May 2001 killings of his 9-year-old daughter, Faith, and her 6-year-old sister, Liberty.
He was pronounced dead at 9:40 p.m.
His final statement: “No, Well, Hi Mary Jean. See y’all later. Go ahead please.”
Battaglia and his wife had separated and the girls were killed at his Dallas apartment during a scheduled visit.
The punishment was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from his lawyers to review his case, contending the 62-year-old was delusional and mentally incompetent for execution.
Battaglia’s was the nation’s third execution this year, all in Texas.
Battaglia shot and killed his daughters in his Deep Ellum apartment. He had a court-ordered and scheduled visit and had met his ex-wife in a shopping center parking lot to pick up the children because he was under 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 Pearle over the phone. Seconds later, Pearle heard one of the children say “No, no, daddy,” then gunshots.
Faith was shot three times, Liberty five. Hours later, Battaglia was found at a 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.
Battaglia has been on death row since 2002.
Thursday morning the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal that claimed a lower court impeded Battaglia’s lawyers from hiring an expert to examine claims that their client isn’t mentally competent to be executed.
On two separate occasions a judge has delayed Battaglia’s execution in the 11th hour. For years lawyers for the now 62-year-old have argued that he is not mentally competent, appealing before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, but those close say its time for his sentence to be carried out.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)