A man sentenced to death for killing his daughters, challenges the court’s decision in delusional claim
John David Battaglia is a former accountant who was convicted of first-degree murder after shooting his daughters, 9-year-old Mary Faith and 6-year-old Liberty, both from his ex-wife, Mary Jean Pearle.
The woman was listening over the phone when he shot them.
He murdered both girls then ran out to have a drink at a pub with a girlfriend; after which he went to a tattoo parlor to get two roses representing his daughters tattooed on his arm.
He was arrested outside the tattoo parlor.
The man scheduled to die, Wednesday, convinced the courts he should have more time to prove he’s incompetent.
The 60 year-old, has appeals pending with the U.S. Supreme Court and the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking the appointment of a new lawyer and a stay of execution to allow the attorney to get up to speed.
Gregory Gardner, the attorney petitioning to represent Battaglia, said:
“The condemned man is delusional and does not understand why he’s scheduled for a lethal injection”.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that since before our country was founded, society does not tolerate the execution of the insane”.
Experts had already testified at trial that Battaglia has “bipolar disorder and other mental health problems”.
Texas officials said those conditions aren’t ‘serious enough to win him a reprieve’.
The state said in a brief:
“His last minute appeal amounts to a fishing expedition. “The Court should deny his request.”
Battaglia had been put on probation months earlier for beating up his ex-wife, Pearle, in front of Mary and Liberty.
He was issued an order of protection after he made a threatening phone call. A warrant for his arrest was issued proceeding that.
Before he surrendered, he had one last visit with his daughters. While they were with him, they called Pearle and asked at their father’s urging, “Why do you want Daddy to go to jail?”
Then, as Pearle listened in horror, she heard her eldest daughter cry, “No, daddy, please don’t — don’t do it,” and then two rounds of gunshots, punctuated by a message from Battaglia: “Merry f—ing Christmas.”
The Texas attorney general’s office wrote:
“There is not a single notation in the records demonstrating that Battaglia is mentally ill, delusional, divorced from reality, on psychiatric medication, or otherwise does not comprehend his imminent execution”.
The state said “his prison medical file doesn’t support the idea that he doesn’t understand what’s happening”.
Battaglia’s appeals outline a litany of alleged delusions and conspiracy theories about the crime.