365 Days of Texas True Crime: No Daddy Don’t
On May 2nd, 2001, 9 year old Faith Battaglia called her mom, Mary Jeane Pearle, from an apartment in the Adam Hats Lofts in Deep Ellum in Dallas. Mary had dropped her two daughters, Faith 9, and Liberty 6, off with her estranged husband for a dinner they had planned for that visit. Mary Jeane went to a friends house. The call was unexpected considering she assumed they would be otherwise occupied having dinner with their father, John David Battaglia. John and Mary were divorced. They had already been through a separation during which time at a visitation on Christmas morning John beat his wife right in front of their two young girls. The separation quickly turned into a divorce and a subsequent protective order was put in place. Battaglia was placed on probation because of the incident but continued to abuse and harass Mary Jeane. Mary Jeane, doing exactly what any one should do, initiated legal action that would revoke his probation and send him to jail for his actions.
Although John had been mentally and physically abusive to Mary, up until this point he had never even spoken poorly about his two daughters. There was no way for anyone to know what he was capable of but Mary was the first to find out. John had Faith call her mother from the apartment and when Mary picked up he told Faith to ask her "why do you want daddy to go to jail?" .....after that Mary heard her daughter crying, saying, "No, Daddy don't", gunshots and then momentary silence.... He shot 9 year-old Faith three times and 6 year-old Liberty five times. He then picked the phone up and told Pearle "Merry Fucking Christmas", obviously siting the Christmas morning assault. After Mary called 911 immediately and John decided to leave a message on the answering machine for anyone who called back. The answering machine in the girls room had this message recorded by John on it:
"Hi, girls. I just want to tell you how very very brave you were, and I hope you are resting in a better place now. I wish that you had nothing to do with your mother. She's evil and vicious and stupid!"
This man who had just killed his two daughters, while they begged for their lives and their mother listened, then went to a bar with his girlfriend. He was later apprehended (after a fist fight with an officer that he did not win) at a tattoo parlor getting two rose tattoos to remember Faith and Liberty.
John David Battaglia abused his first wife as well. Michelle Ghettie had already been harassed and beaten by John for years. He assaulted her outside of the school of the daughter he had with Michelle was attending and in another assault he gave her a nasal fracture. In yet another assault at a bus stop he beat her bad enough that she ended up in the hospital. An assault, like many, that stemmed from his need to retaliate against Michelle's efforts to have him arrested for all the other assaults. His punishment, after having plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge was two-years probation....wow....stiff penalty for beating up the mother of his child not once, or twice but numerous times.
All of the circumstance leading up to the murders are absolutely horrific in and of themselves but it's was this monster does after his arrest that just had me in awe of how disgustingly horrible this man was.
His capital murder trial happened in April, 2002.
The jury deliberated for a whole 19 minutes before convicting him. Afterwards, his lawyers tried to save him from the death penalty by claiming he had a bi-polar disorder but on April 30th, 2002, he was sentenced to death. His death sentence was appealed and his attorney's continued to try and save his life with claims of mental incompetency. He was issued a stay of execution so that the courts could rule on his attorney's claims and what would have been his March 30th, 2016 execution turned into a December 7th, 2017 execution. That's right, he was convicted of double capital murder in 2002 and wasn't even scheduled to be executed until 2016. He got another stay and his execution was pushed back again. During a competency hearing, a mental health expert testified that he Battaglia was faking symptoms of mental illness to avoid and/or delay receiving the punishment he so dearly deserved. A new death warrant was signed on October 31st, 2017 that set his execution for February 1st, 2018. After almost 16 years of the original sentencing the monster would finally be forced to take his punishment. On the day of there was no one sitting on the convicts side and although Mary Jeane Pearle had originally told Battaglia that she would not be in attendance on his last day on this earth, she changed her mind. Mary Jeane was on the victims side of the death chamber viewing area. Unlike anything I've read so far, in regards to murders that involve a parent killing a child/children, Battaglia seemed excited about the days events when he walked into the room. Even more so were his spirits lifted when he saw his ex-wife, the woman he stole everything from. He said "Well, hi Mary Jeane", turned to the warden and stated "I'll see ya'll later. Bye. Go ahead, please." Mary Jeane walked away from the glass window and said "I've seen enough of him." Battaglia then closed his eyes for a few minutes and as if in some morbid seen in a scary movie opened his eyes, looked at the chaplain at his feet, smiled and asked "Am I still alive?"
He smiled some more, sighed a little and then said "Oh, here, I feel it." All in all it took about 22 minutes for John David Battaglia to be officially pronounced dead at 9:40 p.m., he was 62 years old.
Mary Faith Battaglia was born on January 9th, 1992. Liberty Mae Battaglia was born on January 17th, 1995. They were gunned down in an act of revenge by their own father as they begged for their lives on May 2nd, 2001.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) or you can visit the website at thehotline.org