Texas executes convicted killer who was ready to die

He was sentenced to death for fatally shooting his neighbors, Annette and Nathan Copeland, outside the small town of Lovelady, about 100 miles north of Houston.

Fuller never made any eye contact with witnesses, who included the two children of the slain couple.

In lieu of a final statement, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice quoted Fuller as saying: "I don't have anything to say. You can proceed on, Warden Jones". "I'm going to kill you".

The double murderer took a few breaths, but stopped moving within a minute. He was pronounced dead at 7:01 p.m., 38 minutes after the lethal dose began.

Prison agency spokesman Jason Clark says Fuller was in good spirits and has said he did not want to talk with his lawyer.

NEWS BRIEF The state of Texas executed Barney Fuller, Jr. on Wednesday night, breaking an unusual six-month streak without executions.

Court records show Fuller, armed with a shotgun, semi-automatic carbine and a pistol, fired 59 shots before barging into the Copeland home and opening fire again. The couple's 14-year-old son was also shot in the rage-fueled shooting spree, which was the result of Fuller being angry because he was being charged for making a threatening phone call to Annette Copeland two years earlier.

The southern U.S. state of Texas on Wednesday (Oct 5) executed an inmate sentenced to death for murder, amid a nationwide decline in the use of capital punishment.

William House, one of Fuller's trial lawyer, told the Associated Press that his client asked to remain absent during the trial's punishment phase. Kase's organization argued that racist testimony from an expert since nicknamed "Dr. Death" contributed to a Harris County jury's decision to sentence a black man, Duane Buck, to death.

Fuller gave up all appeals previous year, saying the living conditions on death row were unbearable.

"I do not want to go on living in this hell-hole", he said in a letter to his attorney, Jason Cassel.

"Fuller had no late change of heart, Cassel said Tuesday".

At hearing in the spring, a federal judge ruled Fuller competent to waive his right to appeal.

The situation escalated when Fuller called Annette Copeland on January 1, 2001, and told her, "Happy New Year, I'm going to kill you".

Court records showed he seethed over the court appearance and began drinking.

At around 1:30 a.m., he walked the 200 yards to the Copeland's home and fired 60 rounds into the house with an assault rifle, according to court documents.

House described Fuller as "just a unusual bird" who was "very adamant" about not attending his own murder trial. But as one of them said, they "didn't have a whole lot to work with". "Later that morning, Fuller called 9-1-1, confessed to the crime, and told the operator that he would turn himself over to police, which he did".

Cindy Garner, the former Houston County district attorney who prosecuted Fuller, described him as mean and without remorse. And Texas has only brought five new death penalty cases total in the last two years, she said.

  • Julie Sanders