John Battaglia executed for killing daughters in 2001

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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 death by lethal injection.

At 9:18 p.m. prison officials began administering the dose. WFAA's Rebecca Lopez was one of the witnesses. 

Battaglia looked around the room and spotted his ex-wife, Mary Jean Pearle.

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"Hi Mary Jean. See ya’ll later. Bye," Battaglia said.

He closed his eyes, but after a minute or two he reopened them and said, “Am I still alive?” Then he said, “Ah, here it is. I can feel it.”  

Then he began to laugh.

Battaglia never apologized for his heinous crime and showed no remorse. Mary Jean Pearle watched as he was executed. She stood close to the window. At one point she turned and walked towards the back of the room muttering, “I have seen enough of him.”

Battaglia was pronounced dead at 9:40 after a prison doctor confirmed he had no vital signs. No family members or friends were there to witness him die.

Battaglia was executed for shooting and killing his two daughters -- 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.

Battaglia was convicted in less than 20 minutes in May 2002. He has been on Death Row since that time and had two previous execution dates. They were both stayed while he appealed.

Battaglia was an accountant 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 still allowed unsupervised visits with his daughters.

After their deaths, lawmakers made it a requirement for judges to ask if there is a history of domestic violence during divorce and custody proceedings. People with a domestic violence history are also now asked to surrender their guns.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, The Family Place opened Faith and Liberty’s Place -- where children can safely visit with their parents while under supervision with police officers nearby.

Battaglia spent his last day on Earth sleeping, looking at pictures, cleaning his cell, and talking to the warden.

Pearle left the prison Thursday night and declined to make any statements.

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 two little innocent girls," Lopez told him.

"I can understand that the media gets to only have their say," he responded.