A 62-year-old Texas man was executed on Thursday, Feb. 1, for the murders of his two daughters in May 2001 — and he used his final seconds on Earth to taunt his ex-wife, who was forced to listen as he shot their children.
Before he was administered a lethal injection, John David Battaglia commented on the amount of people who had come to watch his execution. "Oh, that's a lot," he observed, before being asked if he had any last words. "No. Well, hi Mary Jean. See y’all later," he said. "Go ahead, please." A few moments after, he asked, "Am I still alive?"
Battaglia with his daughters, Liberty and Faith.
The former accountant and his wife, Mary Jean Pearle, were separated at the time of the killings, which happened during a scheduled visit. She had called his home, and he placed her on speakerphone so that she could hear their nine-year-old daughter Faith beg, "No, daddy, please don’t, don’t do it!" According to investigators, Pearle screamed into the phone and told the girls to run before hearing gunshots. Faith was shot three times, while her younger sister Liberty, 6, was shot five times.
Before disconnecting the call, Battaglia allegedly told Pearle, "Merry f–king Christmas." Police found him a few hours later at a tattoo shop getting two red roses on his arm in honor of the daughters he had just murdered.
Authorities believe Battaglia wanted to make his ex suffer after she filed a harassment claim against him. He was previously arrested in 1999 for assaulting her on Christmas Day.
In 2014, Battaglia called the girls his "best little friends," and told the Dallas Morning News that he did not remember shooting them. “I don’t feel like I killed them. I am a little bit in the blank about what happened," he said.