Execution Watch: John David Battaglia — Texas

By Mark R.  Execution Watch Editor

faith-liberty-battagliaFaith: a noun meaning (among others, the most common involving a belief in a deity or a religious teaching) “confidence or trust in a person or thing”.

Liberty: a noun meaning (among others, the most common involving a government) “freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint”.

(The definitions below are taken from dictionary.reference.com)

Faith and Liberty are also the names of two young girls (ages 9 and 6, respectively), taken from this world much too soon, no thanks to Huntsville’s Pearl Harbor Day guest of (dis)honor, John David Battaglia.

Family members have killed other family members since Cain murdered Abel. And children have been the center of parental disputes since parents have had disputes. Sometimes, tragically, the two meet. But you will be hard-pressed to find a more cold-hearted family murder than that of the Battaglia children.

Battaglia had Faith and Liberty for a scheduled custody visit. But on May 2, 2001, Battaglia would place a call to his ex-wife (the girls’ mother). Battaglia would then proceed to destroy Faith’s faith and restrain Liberty’s liberty by murdering the girls while their mother overheard the murders on the phone. In Texas, killing children (especially your own) will usually get you a death sentence, and less than one year later (April 2002) that would be the punishment handed down by the jury.

All of Battaglia’s appeals have been DENIED. However, he has persistently claimed that he was suffering from bipolar disorder, and shouldn’t be executed for what he did.  He also claims that he can’t remember a thing about what happened. I have a close friend with bipolar who had issues with her ex-spouse over their daughter—but she NEVER considered killing her in revenge.

In addition to the tragic story, the bipolar angle, and that it was one of the more notorious murders to come out of Dallas, I’ve followed this case for another reason: while prisons tend to be overpopulated with school dropouts and menial laborers, Battaglia had enough education to obtain a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license from the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. As a Texas CPA licensee myself, Battaglia is a stain on our honorable profession. The wheels of justice may move slowly but the TSBPA doesn’t—roughly one year after his conviction his CPA license was REVOKED.

https://www.tsbpa.state.tx.us/php/fpl/indlookup.php?x=5Rp8bo1dZ%2BE%3D

Sometime after 6PM Huntsville time Battaglia will pay for his crimes. AND—he won’t be able to have his CPA license reinstated.

Scheduled Execution:  December 7, 2016.

Execution Watch: Pablo Lucio Vasquez, Texas

submitted by Mark R. Execution Watch Editor

On April 6 we will have our second execution in a little over two weeks, and our fourth of the year, that of Pablo Vasquez.

In the Rio Grande Valley town of Donna, Texas (home of the Donna Redskins, the only Valley high school ever to win a state football championship, Class 2A in 1961) Vasquez and his then 15-year-old cousin, Andy Chapa, met 12-year-old Daniel Cardenas at a party.  They invited Cardenas to join them afterwards, then
killed him by blunt force trauma to the head (pipe and shovel) and buried his body.  Vasquez took a ring and necklace from Cardenas’ body.

From the above information (taken mostly from TDCJ’s website) this would appear to be little more a nondescript robbery-murder.  But as Paul Harvey would say, there is “the rest of the story.”  For Vasquez’ motive in killing Cardenas wasn’t robbery—it was his desire to drink Cardenas’ blood as part of an occult ritual ceremony.  (In addition to the blood, Cardenas’ body was found missing one arm and part of the other, as well as no skin on his back.)

Vasquez was found guilty and given the death penalty.  (Chapa, being under 18, was too young to be given the death penalty for his part in Cardenas’ murder.)  Along the way, a few minor issues were remanded to lower courts, but ultimately all appeals were DENIED and there do not appear to be any further appeals pending in this case.

Pablo Vasquez wanted to engage in occult practices.  Sometime after 6PM Huntsville time he may very well meet the Devil—and then it will be too late to engage in anything else.

Execution Watch: Coy Wayne Wesbrook, Texas

by Mark R. Execution Watch Editor

It is said that March comes in like a lion.  This Wednesday it may be roaring in Huntsville with the execution of Coy Wesbrook (subject to a stay which may come, as explained below).

From Channelview (the place that gave us the sordid tale of the Pom Pom Mom) comes another tale right out of a novel from a sleazy bookstore.  The anti’s are arguing that Wesbrook isn’t all right in the head, and after reading this story it’s clear his elevator shaft may not have made it to the top floor, but there are other things to consider.

On November 13, 1997, Wesbrook goes over to the residence of Gloria Jean coons, his (second, as further discussed below) ex-wife, after she contacts him for an attempt at “marital reconciliation”.  When he gets over there, he finds three other men (Antonio Cruz, Anthony Ray Rogers, and Kelly Halzip) and either one (Diana Ruth Money) or two other females (depending on the source) at the house.  As none of the other parties identified themselves as clergy or otherwise there to assist in the
reconciliation, instead of figuring out that something is amiss and quickly departing, he hangs around and begins drinking with them.

Sometime during his visit Wesbrook discovers that his wife and two of the men weren’t around; he goes into a bedroom and finds them engaged in a threesome.  Wesbrook proceeds to do what any heartbroken man would do—he goes out to his truck, gets his hunting rifle, and kills her and the three other men (again, depending on the source, either Money was killed and the other not present when Wesbrook killed the others, Money was killed and the other survived, or the only woman present was Money).

There was plenty of evidence of future dangerousness:  in addition to the multiple murders Wesbrook 1) cut the phone lines of Coons, 2) attempted to burn down his residence after being evicted by his landlord (I own rental properties but never had any tenant this bad), 3) sought to have his FIRST ex-wife and her husband killed, and 4) sought to have three other people killed (which was brought out at trial by a jailhouse snitch).  The jury sentenced Wesbrook to death, and his initial round of appeals was  DENIED.

But during the punishment phase the State called Dr. George Denkowski as an expert witness on Wesbrook’s future dangerousness.  However, in April 2011 Denkowski entered into a settlement agreement with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, whereby he agreed to a reprimand AND further “agreed to not accept any engagement to perform forensic psychological services in the evaluation of subjects for mental retardation or intellectual disability in criminal proceedings”.

Wesbrook requested that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, on its own motion, reopen the case.  TCCA did in April 2012 by remanding the case to the trial court “to allow it the opportunity to re-evaluate its initial findings, conclusions, and recommendation in light of the Denkowski Settlement Agreement”.  The trial court, in September 2014, recommended that relief be DENIED, and TCCA so agreed in January 2015.  (At this point there is nothing further in terms of appellate decisions; the Denkowski issue could end up putting this whole thing on hold.)

Wesbrook’s ex was clearly no saint.  And if he had only killed her and the other two men in the threesome you could have argued a crime of passion and probably shown mercy.  But there were two others there that weren’t doing it yet they died too.  And his other actions show criminal intent.

So this is another thug who is due his.

 

 wesbrook.jpgCoy  Wayne Wesbrook
Born: February 1, 1958 (age 58), Houston, TX
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