Texas man ex­e­cuted as death penalty drops

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in­Wash­ing­ton

The south­ern US state of Texas onWed­nes­day ex­e­cuted an in­mate who had dropped all ap­peals and asked to be put to death for mur­der­ing his neigh­bors 13 years ago.

The au­thor­i­ties car­ried out the sched­uled ex­e­cu­tion of Bar­ney Fuller, 58, in the state with the na­tion’s busiest death cham­ber, amid a de­cline in the use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment across the coun­try.

“I don’t have any­thing to say, you can pro­ceedWar­den Jones,” Fuller said in his last state­ment be­fore Texas Depart­ment of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice officials ad­min­is­tered a lethal in­jec­tion — the state’s first ex­e­cu­tion in six months.

Fuller was pro­nounced de­ceased at 7:01 pm, be­com­ing the 16th prisoner to be ex­e­cuted in the United States this year.

He was con­victed in the grisly mur­ders of his neigh­bors, Nathan and An­nette Copeland, in­May 2003.

The cou­ple had filed a com­plaint af­ter re­ceiv­ing a threat­en­ing phone call from Fuller, a weapons en­thu­si­ast, the in­dict­ment against him read.

En­raged about an or­der to ap­pear in court, Fuller drank all night be­fore go­ing to their home armed with several guns.

He shot the hus­band in the bed­room, and the wife in a bath­room where she was hid­ing, court doc­u­ments said.

Just be­fore be­ing shot, An­nette Copeland had di­aled 911 and the op­er­a­tor clearly heard Fuller say “Party’s over, b***h!”

Fuller then twice shot the cou­ple’s 14-year-old son, who sur­vived. He was not able to find their 10-year-old daugh­ter be­cause he couldn’t lo­cate the light switch in her room.

Sup­port for the death penalty in the US has fallen to its low­est level in 40 years, a study pub­lished last week by Pew Re­search Cen­ter found.

Most no­tably, a ma­jor­ity (51 per­cent) of Amer­i­cans aged 18 to 29 say they are against the death penalty.

Among the pop­u­la­tion as a whole, 49 per­cent of Amer­i­cans still sup­port cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment for peo­ple con­victed of mur­der, ver­sus 42 per­cent who are op­posed.

The US ex­e­cuted 28 in­mates in 2015, the low­est fig­ure in 24 years and far from the high of 98 ex­e­cuted in 1999.

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