HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A 58-year-old Ohio native who fired about 60 gunshots into a Lovelady couple's home before he entered the residence, killed them, and wounded one of their children in May of 2003 is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 5, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Barney Ronald Fuller Jr. received the death penalty in 2004 after he pleaded guilty to a capital murder charge in connection to the shooting deaths of Nathan and Annette Copeland.
Tanya S. Dohoney, an assistant district attorney for Tarrant County wrote an article for the Texas District & County Attorneys Association Website in 2008 that went into detail about the case.
"Barney Fuller found happiness with a warm gun," Dohoney wrote. "He was so fond of shooting on his rural Houston County property that his pastime repeatedly peeved his neighbors, including the Copeland family. After Barney shot the Copeland's electric transformer to smithereens, the ensuing dispute led the Copelands to seek terroristic threat charges against Barney."
When a Houston County district court notified Fuller about the case, he "first sought solace with firewater, then firepower," the TDCAA article stated. The article stated that Fuller went over to the Copelands' home with several weapons, including an AR-15 rifle.
The TDCAA article stated that Fuller fired about 60 rounds into the side of the Copeland family's home, changing his magazine three times.
After entering the house, Barney hunted down the Copeland adults and killed them," Dohoney wrote. "The 9-1-1 operator heard 'Party's over, b----,' then a popping sound, right after Mrs. Copeland called."
At that point, Fuller went looking for the Copelands' two children, and he shot their 14-year-old son, the TDCAA article stated. Both children survived.
Fuller surrendered to a SWAT team later that day, the TDCAA article stated.
Before he turned himself in, Fuller called his father several times for advice, Dohoney wrote. They talked about the need to contact a member of the family who just happened to be a criminal defense attorney. Without Fuller's knowledge, his father asked Steven "Rocket" Rosen's help.
"About the same time as Barney's arrest, Rocket Rosen faxed the sheriff notifying him that Rocket represented Barney; the fax admonished the authorities not to interview Barney without Rocket present," the TDCAA article stated.
A Texas Ranger interviewed Fuller at the Houston County Sheriff's Office, videotaping the statement and obtaining the appropriate waivers, Dohoney wrote. She added that neither the Ranger nor Fuller heard anything about Rosen's faxed instructions until after the interview was finished.
According to the TDCAA article, Fuller decided to plead guilty to the capital murder charge on the morning of his trial. The trial court accepted his plea and found him guilty of the charge.
"The judge instructed the jury that it no longer needed to resolve the issue of guilt, only that of punishment," Dohoney wrote.
After the jury heard "substantial evidence" over the course of nine days, they sentenced Fuller to death by lethal injection, the TDCAA article stated.
Click here to read the TDCAA article.