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Texas Executes Inmate for Murdering Daughters in Killings Wife Heard on Phone

Texas Executes Inmate for Murdering Daughters in Killings Wife Heard on Phone

"Am I still alive?" he asked.

Mary Jean Pearle (above at her ex-husband's 2002 murder trial) was present at his execution on Thursday.

Earlier, Battaglia remained in a holding cell close to the death chamber when a last-minute appeal delayed his execution set for 6 p.m. Lawyers hoped to file a stay of execution, challenging the drugs used in the execution.

He was then given an execution date of December 7, 2016, but five days before the Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals issued another stay of execution over concerns about his mental health. Battaglia and his wife had separated, and he shot the girls at his Dallas apartment during a scheduled visit.

Hours before Battaglia's scheduled death sentence, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied his attorney's request to block the lethal injection. His attorneys contended that he doesn't have the understanding and added the that the state's highest court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, was remiss when they misapplied the Supreme Court's guidance when it ruled that Battaglia is competent.

Just before the murder, prosecutors said Battaglia became enraged with Pearle after she said she had notified the police about his harassment of her. Pearle then returned a call from her daughter, and heard Faith pleading with her father, who then put the call on the speakerphone. At the time of the shooting, Battaglia's ex-wife was attempting to have him arrested for threatening her in violation of a protective order she had obtained in the wake of a physical assault.

This was the third execution in 2018 in Texas.

'No, daddy, please don't, don't do it!' Faith begged.

"I think the notoriety of the case revolves around the day doing that when he had the girls call the mom up on the phone so she could hear them screaming and so she could hear the gunshots", Blackmon said. Attorneys contended the state's supply was outdated and Battaglia was at risk for unconstitutionally cruel punishment.

Threatened with jail for violating his probation in the Christmas attack, Battaglia was supposed to be taking his girls to dinner on the evening of May 2, 2001. His profanity-laced Christmas greeting to Pearle was an apparent reference to that.

In 2001, Battaglia and his daughters - ages 6 and 9 - were in his Dallas apartment when he shot them, officials said. It took four officers to subdue him.

According to a testimony at a hearing, it was claimed that Battaglia used the public library at the prison to research capital case rulings and mental competence.

A short time later, the powerful sedative, pentobarbital, began to take its effect and soon Battaglia said, "Oh, I feel it".

Later, a fully loaded revolver was found in his truck.

John Battaglia was on death row for almost two decades ever since he murdered his two young daughters while their mother begged for their lives over the phone. "I am a little bit in the blank about what happened".

State Judge Robert Burns, who found him competent, said Battaglia's intelligence and education - he has a master's degree - shows he's not a "typical inmate" and has the 'motive and intellectual capability to maintain a deliberate ploy or ruse to avoid his execution'.

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