Barney Fuller was sentenced to death by the State of Texas for the murders of 2 of his neighbors. According to court documents Barney Fuller would shoot and kill his neighbors Nathan and Annette Copeland following an argument. Barney Fuller would plead guilty to the double murders and would still be sentenced to death. Barney Fuller would be executed by lethal injection on October 5, 2016
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Summoned to court to answer charges that he made a threatening phone call to his neighbor’s home in a rural East Texas county more than two years earlier, Barney Fuller Jr.’s anger smoldered as he began drinking.
Two nights later, Barney Fuller left his home with a 12-gauge shotgun, a military-style semi-automatic carbine and a .40-caliber pistol and carried the weapons about 200 yards to the home of neighbors Nathan and Annette Copeland. He fired 59 shots into their house, kicked in the back door and walked inside, opening fire again. Nathan Copeland, 43, was killed in his bedroom, shot four times. His wife, 39, was gunned down in a bathroom while calling 911. One of their two children was shot but survived.
On Wednesday, Fuller, 58, is set for lethal injection for the May 2003 rampage outside Lovelady, about 100 miles north of Houston.
He’d be the seventh convicted killer executed this year in Texas and the first in six months. His execution would be only the 16th this year nationally, a downturn fueled by fewer death sentences overall, courts halting scheduled executions for additional reviews, and death penalty states encountering difficulties obtaining drugs for lethal injections.
Hours after the shooting frenzy, Fuller called Houston County authorities and told them he would surrender peacefully at his home.
He pleaded guilty to capital murder, declined to be in the courtroom after individual questioning of prospective jurors began at his July 2004 trial, and asked that the trial’s punishment phase go on without his presence. He didn’t return to the courtroom until jurors returned with their death verdict.
“He was very adamant not wanting to be there,” William House, one of his trial lawyers, recalled. “From the very start, he just really didn’t care