A FORMER marine who shot dead his daughters as they chatted on the phone to their mum will be executed today amid claims he is “too deranged” to die.
John Battaglia, 60, shot Faith, nine, and Liberty, six, while their horrified mother sat helpless on the other end of the call in 2001.
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Using a .45 caliber pistol he killed the pair in his home hours after learning there was a warrant out for his arrest for violating his probation, which he was serving after being convicted of assaulting his estranged wife.
Both girls were at his home in Livingston, Texas, on a regular custody visit.
Ms Pearle rang Battaglia after he sent her a message saying she had missed a call from one of the girl.
He put her on speakerphone, before telling Faith to ask her: “Mommy, why do you want Daddy to have to go to jail?”
Moments later, the little girl cried out: “No, Daddy, please don’t do it.”
The mum screamed down the phone for her daughters to run, but shots were fired, before her ex shouted: “Merry f*****g Christmas.”
Battaglia, who also worked as an accountant, is scheduled to die by lethal injection today.
But he has made a last-ditch appeal for his life, insisting he deserves more time to prove he is mentally incompetent.
The 60-year-old is also petitioning for a new attorney in his case.
A lawyer seeking to represent Battaglia says the murderer does not understand why he is being put to death and, therefore, should be granted a stay of execution.
Attorney Gregory Gardner told NBC News: “The Supreme Court has ruled that since before our country was founded, society does not tolerate the execution of the insane.”
Straight after the murder Battaglia went to a tattoo parlour and had two roses inked on his arms for his daughters.
It was there he was arrested after his wife had called police.
In an interview with Dallas Morning News from death row he said the girls were “the nicest” and his “little best friends”.