"Hi, Mom. Give us a call, okay?"
Even in the bitterest divorce cases, angry ex-spouses usually agree on one thing--the welfare of their children. Mary Jean Pearle, a Dallas antiques dealer, never dreamed that her precious daughters, Faith and Liberty, would be anything but safe when she dropped them off with their father. John Battaglia, a successful accountant and ex-Marine, had at times been vicious to her--but always gentle with the girls.
Listening helplessly through the phone, Mary Jean heard Faith plead for her life. . .and then the heart-rending sound of gunshots.
Updating her classic account of this unthinkable crime with the latest stunning developments from Death Row, veteran crime writer Irene Pence recounts an unforgettable saga of violence, betrayal, and tears.
Case seen on 20/20
Includes Sixteen Pages Of Dramatic Photos
John Battaglia said hello and it grated on Mary
Jean to hear her ex-husband's voice.
"Hi, John," she said lightly. "I got a message that
the girls wanted to ask me something."
"Yeah," he said, and Mary Jean could hear the
echo-like sound that always accompanied his punching
of the speaker phone button.
"Ask her " John's voice pounded. "Ask her," he repeated
in a louder, harsher voice.
"Mommy?" Faith stammered. She was noticeably
crying and her voice sputtered in short sobs. "Why
do you want Daddy to have to go to jail?"
Mary Jean could feel her body temperature climb.
"Oh come on, John, don't do this to them."
Then Mary Jean heard the screams that will forever
haunt her. Faith cried out, "No, Daddy, don't
Oh please no, Daddy. Don't do it. No, no, no "
Over her daughter's piercing cries, Mary Jean
heard the blast of a gun. "Run, babies, run " she
screamed. "As fast as you can, run for the door ""