AUSTIN, Texas — An appeals court has lifted a stay of execution for a Dallas man convicted of fatally shooting his two young daughters 16 years ago while their mother listened helplessly over the phone.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Wednesday that 62-year-old John Battaglia is competent to be executed. The appeals court is sending the case to the trial court to set an execution date.

The appeals court issued a stay in December to review whether Battaglia was mentally competent to be put to death. His attorney had appealed a judge’s ruling that he was mentally competent for execution.

Battaglia was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of his daughters, ages 6 and 9. The girls were killed at his Dallas apartment in May 2001.