A federal appeals court in the US has put on hold the execution of a father, who killed his two daughters in Dallas, Texas 15 years ago.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay of execution for Battaglia and the Texas attorney general would decide on the case. He received a last-minute reprieve 7 hours before his scheduled execution.

Sixty-year-old John David Battaglia’s attorney argued that he deserves a court-appointed lawyer to determine the possibility of his mental incompetence for execution.

Battaglia’s attorney  Gregory Gardner said, “The Supreme Court has ruled that since before our country was founded, society does not tolerate the execution of the insane”

Battaglia was scheduled to die on 30 March.  Reportedly, he killed both his daughters while his ex-wife, the mother of the children, was listening helplessly on the phone. He was convicted of killing his daughters, 9-year-old Faith and 6-year-old liberty in 2001.

Battaglia, according to Mail Online,during an interview said that he did not feel like he killed his daughters. He referred the girls as his “best little friends.”

He said, “I am a little bit in the blank about what happened.”

AS reported by khou.com, on May 2, 2001, Faith and Liberty visited their father John Battaglia in his apartment in Dallas when the unforeseen incident happened. The girls were busy chatting with their mother Mary Jean Pearle on the phone when Battaglia shot them.

During the murder trial, Pearle described the horrific incident. She said, “And then I hear Faith go, ‘No, daddy! Please don’t do it!’ And I heard [gunfire], and I hear him yell: ‘Merry F-ing Christmas!”

Later in an interview, Pearle said, “It’s the most empty feeling you could ever have in your life. They are everything. All your hopes and dreams… everything is gone.”

The pieces of evidence found showed that Battaglia shot each girl 6 times. After killing them he left a voice message on his daughters’ answering machine which said, “Good night my little babies. I hope you’re resting in a different place.”

Hours later he was arrested outside a tattoo parlour where he had two roses, one for each girl, inked on his arm.

Although there was a history of domestic violence between Battaglia and Pearle, no one imagined that things would take such a horrific turn.

A crime involving a parent is unimaginable as they are supposedly the most trustworthy people in a child’s life. A California neighbourhood was taken aback when they learnt recently that a mother microwaved her infant daughter.