Convicted child killer John Battaglia's stay of execution lifted

WFAA's Rebecca Lopez interviews convicted child killer John Battaglia in jail in August of 2016.

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas has lifted the stay of execution of convicted child killer John Battaglia.

Battaglia was convicted in 2002 of shooting to death his two girls, Faith and Liberty, in his Deep Ellum apartment. The girls were on the phone with their mother when he shot them multiple times.

Their mother, Mary Jean Pearl, testified in court that after he killed them he got on the phone and told her “Merry F----ing Christmas.”

The two were divorced at the time of the murders.

The murders shocked North Texas and lead to reforms in child visitation laws in Texas.

Battaglia has filed a series of appeals to overturn his execution.

Just before he was set to die in November 2016 he was granted his second stay of execution after he filed an appeal saying he was “incompetent to be executed.”

An evidentiary hearing was held in Dallas County District Judge Robert Burns’ court.

Three mental health experts at the time testified that Battaglia was incompetent but Judge Burns found a fourth expert more credible.

That expert concluded that Battaglia was competent to be executed.

Battaglia appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas who affirmed Judge Burns’ decision finding that Battaglia is competent to be executed.

The stay of execution was lifted and now goes back to Judge Burns to set an execution date.

Battaglia can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court but experts say it is unlikely they will hear the appeal clearing the way for Battaglia to die by lethal injection.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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