Battaglia to be executed in Dallas, Texas
John Battaglia was accused and found guilty of the murder of his own two daughters, 6 year-old Liberty and 9 year-old Faith. On May 12, 2001, as revenge against the girls’ mother, Battaglia shot his daughters while he was talking to their mother who heard her daughter plead with him and then heard the shots. After committing the crime, he went to a bar with his girlfriend, left messages on the phone saying goodnight to the girls and then went into a tattoo parlour to have a tattoo immortalizing his daughters. The crime horrified the entire country.
Battaglia was sentenced to death and spent 15 years on death row in Texas. The execution by lethal injection was scheduled to take place in Dallas on March 30, 2016. Battaglia’s lawyers have argued that Battaglia does not remember killing his children and believes that he is innocent of the crime. This makes him incompetent and therefore ineligible for a death sentence. The Court stated that Battaglia "has presented some evidence of mental illness and delusions", but also stated there is no evidence that he is incompetent. After many petitions to the court to have the death sentence commuted to life imprisonment, the Court of Appeals granted a stay of execution, 7 hours before the scheduled execution. A court-appointed lawyer will try to find evidence to present to the Court of Appeals at a later date.