Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 7:59 pm EDT
Barney Ronald Fuller, Jr., was executed by the state of Texas on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. Barney was 58 years of age. He was pronounced dead at 7:01 pm EDT, inside the Walls Unit execution chamber at the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Barney was executed for the murder of 39-year-old Annette Copland and 43-year-old Nathan Copland, which occurred on May 14, 2003, in Houston County. Barney spent the last 12 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Barney did not graduate high school, dropping out after the ninth grade. He worked as a laborer prior to his arrest.
Neighbors of Barney Fuller had repeatedly complained of Fuller firing weapons on his property. One of the shots allegedly struck the electric transformer of Nathan and Annette Copland. The dispute between the couple and Fuller continued to escalate. Over the New Year, Fuller contacted Annette over the telephone saying, “Happy New Year, I’m going to kill you.”
Fuller was charged with making terroristic threats. On May 13, 2003, Fuller received a letter from the court regarding the charges. He became enraged and started drinking heavily. Several hours later, around 1:30 am, on May 14, 2003, Fuller walked from his home to the Copland home.
From outside the Copland home, Fuller fired approximately 60 rounds from an AR-15 rifle, reloading three times. Fuller then broke into the home from the back, firing shots from his pistol, reloading twice. Nathan was shot four times, with the first shot fired into the back of his head at close distance. Annette ran to the master bath and managed to call the police. The police operator heard a man say, “Party’s over, [expletive deleted],” and a popping sound before the line went dead. Annette had been shot three times in the head with a pistol.
Fuller then went into the room of the couple’s son, 15-year-old Cody. Fuller fired at least three times, asking Cody why he was lying about him in court. Cody was shot twice in the shoulder but survived his injuries. Fuller then went to the room of 11-year-old Courtney, but was unable to find her in the dark and left.
Courtney waited five minutes before emerging. She first checked on Cody, then her parents and determined that her parents would not survive. Cody attempted to call the police, but discovered that the landline was dead. Courtney found her mother’s cellphone was able to call the police and her grandparents. While waiting for help to arrived, Courtney and Cody played dead in case Fuller returned.
Fuller, after contacting the police and agreeing to surrender, was arrested later that morning. He was sentenced to death in 2004.
Please pray for peace and healing for Cody, Courtney and the family of Nathan and Annette. Please pray for the family of Barney Fuller.