DALLAS - Notorious child killer John Battaglia was executed Thursday night in Huntsville.
His attorneys tried to file some last minute appeals hoping to get a stay of execution but in the end the U.S. Supreme Court and The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied his appeals clearing the way for his execution.
At 9:18 p.m. prison officials began administering the lethal injection. WFAA's Rebecca Lopez was one of the witnesses.
Battaglia looked around the room and spotted his ex-wife Mary Jean Pearle. He said, “Hi Mary Jean, see ya’ll later. Bye.”
He closed his eyes after a minute or two he opened them again and said, “Am I still alive?” Then he said, “Ah, here it is. I can feel it.” Then he began to laugh.
He never apologized for his heinous crime and showed no remorse.
Mary Jean Pearle watched as he was executed. She stood close to the window and at one point turned and walked towards the back of the room and said, “I have seen enough of him.”
Battaglia was pronounced dead at 9:40 after a prison doctor confirmed he had no vital signs.
No one from his family or friends were there to witness him die.
Battaglia was executed for shooting and killing his 2 little girls, 9 year old Faith and 6 year old Liberty. They were visiting their father in May 2001 at his apartment in Deep Ellum.
While the girls were on the phone with their mother he shot them and then yelled, “Merry f’ing Christmas.”
Pearle listened hopelessly as her daughters were murdered.
He was convicted in less than 20 minutes in May 2002. He has been on death row since that time.
He had two previous execution dates but was given stays while he appealed.
Battaglia was an account who at the peak of his career owned a swanky home in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Dallas.
But, he had a dark side. He beat Pearle and also beat and hospitalized his first wife. Despite his history of abuse he was allowed unsupervised visits with his daughters.
After their deaths law makers changed the laws making it a requirement for judges to ask if there is a history of domestic violence during divorce and custody proceedings.
Also, people with a domestic violence history are asked to surrender their guns.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, The Family Place opened Faith and Liberty’s place. It’s a place where children can safely visit with their parents while under supervision with police officers nearby.
Battaglia spent his last day sleeping, looking at pictures, cleaning his cell and talking to the warden.
Pearle left the prison Thursday night and declined to make any statements.
At The Family Place, Faith and Liberty's Place was built in their honor. It's a place where parents can have safe supervised visits.
As for Battaglia, in an interview with WFAA two years ago, he blamed everyone but himself for the murders calling prosecutors and judges demons. "Some people would say you are the demon because you killed 2 little innocent girls. ‘I can understand that the media gets to only have their say,’" he said.
As for Faith and Liberty, they will live on between these walls at The Family Place where children are safe.
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