Nathan Copeland, 43, and Annette Copeland, 39, were shot dead by neighbor Barney Fuller in their Lovelady, Texas home in Houston County almost 17 years ago. Fear Thy Neighbor episode “House of Shards,” will dramatize their shooting deaths. Barney Fuller, known as the “Happy New Year I’m Going to Kill You,” killer asked for the death penalty. He was executed in 2016.
Fear Thy Neighbor episode “House of Shards” on the Investigation Discovery channel
A childish joke between neighborhood kids leads to murder in one small town in East Texas once the adults step in.
A Double Killing in Lovelady
Rr 1, Lovelady, TX
For residents living on that lonely rural road in Lovelady, Texas next to neighbor Barney Fuller, it was a real-life nightmare. Barney Fuller, a 40-ish-year-old angry man, constantly bothered his neighbors with loud gunshots coming from his rifle. And he hated the sound of children laughing and playing. Nathan Copeland and his wife, Annette Copeland, disliked Barney Fuller and had no problem telling him how they felt.
The already-tense situation intensified when Barney Fuller shot Nathan and Annette Copeland’s electric transformer before calling them on the phone and stating, “Happy New Year. I’m going to kill you.” The Copelands filed a formal complaint.
Ordered to go to court to answer the charges made Barney Fuller even angrier. He brooded over the court date and drank heavily for a whole day before deciding to end it all. According to court records, on May 14, 2003,
Barney Fuller left his home in the dark at approximately 1:30 a.m and took a footpath to Annette and Nathan Copeland’s house. Using his rifle, he shot more than fifty rounds into the home, stopping to change the magazine on his gun three separate times. Then he kicked down the back door and charged into the couple’s master bedroom, where he found Nathan Copeland.
Investigators say Fuller changed weapons and shot Nathan four times, including once in the head. Annette Copeland tried to escape to her master bathroom, a place where she normally went to relax but was also gunned down. Despite her injuries, she was able to dial 911. When the operator picked up, she heard a voice say, “Party’s over, b*tch!” Then she heard gunshots. A coroner’s report showed Annette Copeland (Mary Annette Brady Copeland) was shot three times in the head.
After killing the parents, Barney Fuller went to look for the children. He found The Copeland’s teenage son, Cody, and asked him why he was lying about him. Then he shot him. Next, Fuller tried to find the couple’s eleven-year-old daughter, Courtney. However, he couldn’t find her. The room was dark, and Barney Fuller couldn’t find the light switch. Cody survived his injuries.
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) October 5, 2016
Court records describe what happened in the minutes after killer Barney Fuller left the house.
Courtney waited five minutes before checking on Cody and her parents. Cody [tried]to call 9-1-1, but the house landline was dead. Courtney turned off the stove in the kitchen. [Barney turned the kitchen stove on before leaving.] Cody went to their parents’ room to find their mother’s mobile phone to call 9-1-1. () Courtney called her grandparents to tell them what had happened, and then she and Cody waited, pretending to be dead just in case the appellant returned. Their grandparents arrived before any first responders and took the children to meet an ambulance that was en route for Cody.
Following the double slaying, Barney Fuller returned to his home and fired off more gunshots then turned himself into the SWAT team after an initial standoff. In the Houston County jail, Barney Fuller gave up on life. He pleaded guilty to the killings and never showed up to receive his death sentence. He ignored most of the legal correspondence regarding his case, telling his lawyers not to prolong his time there, NBC News reported.
“[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. () What’s the point of sentencing someone to death, you know, if you’re not going to carry on through with what you ordered.”
Watch the Barney Fuller murder story involving Annette Copeland and Nathan Copeland tonight on Fear Thy Neighbor: “House of Shards” at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery.
[Main image courtesy of Find-A-Grave]