John David Battaglia Execution Again Halted Over Competency Questions - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

John David Battaglia Execution Again Halted Over Competency Questions



    John David Battaglia Execution Again Halted Over Competency Questions
    Staff Photographer
    Death row inmate John Battaglia was the perpetrator in a highly publicized 2002 incident that began in Highland Park and ended when he killed his two daughters in a Deep Ellum loft while his wife listened on the phone. He is photographed at the Polunsky Unit in West Livingston, Texas, Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News) [ deadlyaffection - deadly affection ] 02232014xNEWS

    The scheduled execution of a man found guilty of murdering his two young daughters in 2001 has once again been halted over concerns of his mental competency.

    Attorneys for John David Battaglia confirmed in a statement to NBC 5 that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of execution Friday but had no further comment.

    Battaglia's legal team asked that the execution be halted so that the state appeals court or a federal court can review a recent ruling which found Battaglia mentally sound enough to be put to death.

    This is the second time this year a stay has been issued on Battaglia's behalf. On March 30 a federal appeals court stopped Battaglia's scheduled lethal injection so the mental competency questions could be reviewed.

    Following a two-day hearing last month to determine his competency, Battaglia was found mentally competent to be executed.

    In a court document obtained by NBC 5, Dallas County Judge Robert Burns said in November Battaglia failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he was incompetent to be executed.

    Three forensic psychologists testified in the hearing that Battaglia suffered from a delusional disorder that makes him believe he did not kill his children. However, a fourth psychologist told the court Battaglia is competent for execution and that he believed Battaglia could be faking symptoms of a delusional disorder.

    "He first insists he was not present at the time of his daughter's death and then he provides a possible excuse for why he might of been present, implying why he might of killed them," said Dr. James Womack. "He would have likely maintained his position that he was not there at the time of the murders and argue any evidence law enforcement had, would have been fabricated."

    The court found that "if Battaglia does have a severe mental illness, it does not rise to the level that it interferes with his rational understanding of the reason for his execution."

    Prior to the latest stay, Battaglia was to be executed Dec. 7.

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