A Texas death row inmate scheduled for execution for murdering his two young children execution as his ex-wife helplessly listened on the phone was given a stay of execution by a federal appeals court Wednesday.
The court halted the scheduled lethal injection of John David Battaglia, a former accountant mere hours before the state of Texas was to execute him for the shooting deaths his two young daughters in Dallas 15 years ago.
The condemned inmate’s legal team argued to The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that their client deserved a court-appointed attorney to investigate claims whether Battaglia is mentally competent for execution, and requested the judges hold mental evaluation proceedings.
The court issued a decision agreeing to halt Battaglia’s execution seven hours before he was scheduled to be taken to the Texas death chamber.
A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court explicitly states that a prisoner can be put to death if he’s aware that the death penalty is set to be carried out, and the individual fully understands why he’s facing the ultimate sentence.