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Barney Fuller murdered his neighbors Annette and Nathan Copeland in cold blood: ID investigates

Mugshot of Barney Fuller
Barney Fuller executed his neighbors Nathan and Annette Copeland in cold blood. Pic credit: Texas Dept of Criminal Justice

James Patterson’s Murder Thy Neighbor continues on ID with the case of Barney Fuller, who murdered his neighbors, Nathan and Annette Copeland, and shot their son following a dispute in rural East Texas.

In the early hours of May 14, 2003, Fuller approached the Copeland’s home in Lovelady, TX, and fired at the house with an assault rifle. He then broke into the premises and killed both Annette and Nathan with a pistol.

Barney Fuller had spent two years arguing with the Copelands. His favorite pastime was shooting his firearms in his yard; unfortunately, his hobby drove his neighbors crazy.

In 2001 his gunfire destroyed an electric transformer that belonged to the Copeland’s. When Annette complained to him over the phone, he responded by saying, “Happy New Year. I’m going to kill you.”

The Copeland’s were understandably upset and filed charges against Fuller. It took two years for his trial to be scheduled in nearby Houston, and when Fuller received his summons, he flew into a rage.

Fuller’s wife later testified that her husband had spent the whole day drinking alcohol, and as evening approached, he ordered her and their children out of the house.

At approximately 1:30 am that night, Fuller wandered over to the Copeland’s home, just 200 yards from his own home, and fired 60 rounds into the house. He then broke down the back door and entered the house.

Barney Fuller went on a violent rampage

Fuller first entered the bedroom of the Copeland’s ten-year-old daughter, but thankfully left when he couldn’t locate the light switch. He then found Annette and Nathan in the master bedroom, where he shot them both dead.

Annette had found enough time to dial 911; the operator overheard a man say, “Party’s over, b***h” before hearing gunfire followed by silence. Fuller then went into the room of their 14-year-old son and shot him twice in the shoulder. Luckily, he survived.

Fuller was arrested several hours later in his home; he surrendered peacefully. He pleaded guilty to all charges and accepted his sentence of the death penalty.

Fuller paid no attention to his case and asked his lawyers not to bother with any appeals. He wanted to be executed. He wrote to his lawyers: “[I] really do not care and do not want to go on living in this hellhole. Do not do anything for me, which will prolong my appeals and time here on Texas death row.”

Fuller got his wish on October 5, 2016, when he was executed by lethal injection.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more crimes profiled on ID.

Dennis Rader, aka The BTK Killer, liked to taunt the police after he murdered ten people in Kansas. He bragged about his murders and viewed his pursuit by the cops as a game. It took 30 years for law enforcement to bring him to justice.

Teenager James ”Martin” Robert had been acting strangely when he vanished from the campus at the Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, in 2016. He left a note, implying that he was leaving, but he left all his belongings behind and has not been seen since.

James Patterson’s Murder Thy Neighbor airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.


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