Texas man to be executed for killing his two daughters

John Battaglia killed his two daughters in his Texas apartment (Reuters photo)

(BBC) A man who shot and killed his two daughters in 2001 will be executed in Texas on Thursday evening.

John Battaglia killed his two daughters in his Texas apartment (Reuters photo)

John Battaglia, 62, called the girls’ mother before murdering his six and nine-year-old daughters in his Dallas apartment.

The mother recounts hearing gunshots and screams.

A last-minute appeal to save Battaglia’s life has been launched by his lawyers, who argue he suffers from severe mental illness.

They have asked the US Supreme Court to spare Battaglia from execution and review his case because his “perception of reality may be so distorted that he is incompetent to be executed”.

Battaglia will be the third prisoner put to death in the US this year. All executions have taken place in the state of Texas.

The former accountant and his wife Mary Jean Pearl divorced a year before the killings. Ms Pearl was seeking his arrest for violating a protective order against her the night he murdered their daughters.

On that evening in May 2001, Battaglia was scheduled to have dinner with the two girls when police informed him that he was violating probation and needed to surrender, court documents show.

When the girls arrived at the apartment he called his wife and put her on speaker phone.

The nine-year-old daughter asked: “Mommy, why do you want Daddy to go to jail?”

A few seconds later Ms Pearl said she heard her daughter say, “No, Daddy, please don’t, don’t do it”, followed by gunshots and screams,

The girls were found dead in Battaglia’s apartment after being shot multiple times, police said.

According to court documents, Battaglia went to a bar with his girlfriend after killing his daughters, and was later arrested at a tattoo parlour where he was getting tattoos of roses to remember them.

In 2002, Battaglia was convicted by a jury in 20 minutes.

Experts determined that he had “delusional disorder of the persecutory type” after examining him. However, prosecutors said that Battaglia was aware of his crimes and therefore fit to be executed.

He is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at 18:00 local time. (00:00 GMT)



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