Child-Killer Battaglia's Death Date Confirmed

John Battaglia in 2002.
John Battaglia in 2002.
Mark Graham

John Battaglia, who killed his two daughters on May 2, 2001, will be executed on Dec. 7, State District Judge Robert Burns confirmed Friday afternoon.

Despite testimony from three psychologists that Battaglia might not understand his death sentence and that his execution is imminent — which is the Texas standard for execution eligibility — Burns sided with a fourth psychologist who testified that Battaglia is manufacturing symptoms.

Battaglia shot his daughters is his Deep Ellum loft shortly after his divorce from his wife, Mary Jean Pearle. She was on the phone with Battaglia and heard her daughter cry, "No, Daddy! Don't do it!" just before Battaglia fired eight shots.

At the time of the murders, Pearle, whom Battaglia abused for the duration of their marriage, was in the midst of an attempt to get Battaglia's probation for assault revoked. She told police that he was harassing her on the phone.

After the murders, as detailed in a 2002 Observer feature, Battaglia drove to an East Dallas tattoo parlor and got two rose tattoos to represent, Liberty and Mary Faith, the daughters he'd just murdered. He then left an answering message for his ex-wife.

"Goodnight, my little babies. I hope you are resting in a different place. I love you," he said.

A Dallas County jury sentenced Battaglia to death in April 2002. In March, he received a temporary stay of execution from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals so his mental state could be evaluated.


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