Barney Ronald Fuller, Jr. scheduled for execution Wednesday
Special to The Leader
AUSTIN – Pursuant to an order of the 349th Judicial District Court of Houston County, Fuller is scheduled for execution after6:00 p.m. on October 5, 2016.
On July 21, 2004, the 349th Judicial District Court of Houston County, Texas entered a judgment of conviction against him for capital murder and sentenced him to death.
Fuller was known to fire weapons on his rural property. A dispute arose with the Copelands over Fuller’s alleged shooting of their electric transformer. The dispute escalated when Fuller called Annette and told her over the telephone, “Happy New Year, I’m going to kill you.” Fuller was then charged with making a terroristic threat. Fuller was notified of the charge by letter on May 13, 2003. At approximately 1:30 the next morning, he went on a shooting rampage at the Copelands’ home, killing Nathan and Annette, wounding their fifteen-year-old son Cody in the shoulder, and unsuccessfully searching for their eleven-year-old daughter Courtney. 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.
In July of 2004, Fuller pleaded guilty to capital murder. Following a hearing on punishment, the 349th Judicial District Court of Houston County sentenced him to death based on the jury’s answers to the special issue.
The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence on direct appeal in a published opinion on April 30, 2008.
On January 12, 2009, the Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of certiorari.
The Court of Criminal Appeals denied his initial state application for writ of habeas corpus on January 14, 2015.
Fuller initiated federal habeas proceedings on January 28, 2015.
Despite his last filing, Fuller filed a motion seeking to waive his proceeding in federal district court on December 1, 2015.
The court held a hearing to determine Fuller’s competency to waive on May 24, 2016 and, based on testimony from an independently appointed psychologist and Fuller himself, the court granted Fuller’s motion to waive his federal habeas proceedings and dismissed his petition. Fuller elected not to appeal this final order and judgment.
The 349th Judicial District Court of Houston County, Texas entered an Execution Order and issued a Death Warrant setting Fuller’s execution for October 5, 2016 after 6:00 p.m.
For additional information and statistics, please access the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website atwww.tdcj.state.tx.us.