Texas executes man who admitted to neighbors' 2003 slaying

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Texas executed a man on Wednesday who pleaded guilty to spraying a neighboring home with gunfire, kicking in the door and killing the married couple who lived there in 2003.

Barney Fuller Jr., 58, was pronounced dead at 7:01 p.m. CDT (12:01 a.m. GMT on Thursday) at the state's death chamber in Huntsville after waiving his final appeals.

It was the seventh this year in Texas and the 16th in the United States.

Fuller was sentenced to death after pleading guilty to capital murder in July 2004. A federal judge earlier this year ruled that he was competent to decide to forgo further appeals in his case.

The shooting rampage followed simmering disputes escalated between Fuller and his neighbors in rural East Texas, according to court documents.

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Mugshot of Cameron Todd Willingham

(Photo credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

Death row inmate Troy Davis appears in this undated file photo provided by the Georgia Department of Corrections. (Georgia Department of Corrections/MCT via Getty Images)
Anne MacPhail pauses for a moment after learning at 10:55 p.m., on September 21, 2011, that the U.S. Supreme Court had denied a stay of execution for Troy Davis, who was convicted in the 1989 murder of her son Mark MacPhail. Davis was executed shortly after in Jackson, Georgia. (Robin Trimarchi/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/MCT via Getty Images)

Mugshot of Kelly Renee Gissendaner

(Photo credit: Georgia Department of Corrections)

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Neighbors Nathan and Annette Copeland had complained to police that Fuller had shot their dog, fired at their house and fired at an electrical transformer for the residence.

The clashes escalated after Fuller told Annette Copeland "Happy New Year, I'm going to kill you" over the phone and was charged with making a terroristic threat, according to court documents.

As his trial date was nearing in May 2003, Fuller went to the Copeland home and opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, the documents said.

After entering the home, Fuller shot and killed Annette, 39, and Nathan Copeland, 43, and wounded their teenage son, Cody. A 10-year-old daughter avoided injury, the documents said.

A few hours after the shootings, Fuller called 911 and confessed to the crime, according to the Texas attorney general's office.

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 Warden Jones."

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393846 06: A gurney and a electric chair sit in the death chamber of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility August 29, 2001 in Lucasville, Ohio. The state of Ohio is one of the few states that still uses the electric chair, and it gives death row inmates a choice between death by the electric chair or by lethal injection. John W. Byrd, who will be executed on September 12, 2001, has stated that he will choose the electric chair. (Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images)
393846 05: A view of the death chamber from the witness room at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility shows an electric chair and gurney August 29, 2001 in Lucasville, Ohio. The state of Ohio is one of the few states that still uses the electric chair, and it gives death row inmates a choice between death by the electric chair or by lethal injection. John W. Byrd, who will be executed on September 12, 2001, has stated that he will choose the electric chair. (Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images)
 A huge crowd of over 15, 000 people gathers around a scaffold to witness the public hanging of 22-year old Rainey Bethea August 14, 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky. Public outrage over the manner of execution made Bethea's death the last public hanging in the country. (Photo by Newsmakers)
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(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin and Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Sandra Maler)

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