Tonight, the State of Texas carried out its first execution in six months, putting Barney Fuller to death for the 2003 murders of his neighbors, Nathan and Annette Copeland, in Houston County. Fuller pled guilty to the crime and waived further appeals in his case, ordering his attorneys not to file any additional legal challenges. In June, a federal judge deemed him competent to drop his appeals. Fuller was 58 years old.
According to the Texas Tribune, Fuller’s execution marked the first time Houston County (about 100 miles north of Houston) has put someone to death since the penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976.
According to Rob Dunham with the Death Penalty Information Center, 144 people have been executed in the United States after giving up their appeals. This represents just under 10% of U.S. executions since 1977. In Texas, 30 people have been executed after forfeiting their appeals. This includes Daniel Lopez, who was put to death in August 2015 at the age of 27 after spending 5 1/2 years on death row.
The State of Texas has put seven people to death in 2016. Eight individuals have received stays.
There have been 16 executions nationwide, including six in Georgia. There is one more execution set to occur in Texas this year: Ramiro Gonzales is scheduled to be put to death on November 2, 2016. There are two executions scheduled in Alabama and one set for later this month in Georgia.