- Death & Loss of Life
One More Look at Death Row Inmate Darlie Routier (updated)
Mommy or Monster?
After her graduation, Darlie married her high school sweetheart, Darin Routier, in 1988. Together they soon began a family. Following the birth of their first son, Devon Rush, in 1989, their second son, Damon Christian, was born in 1991.
Darin's computer-related business afforded the family's move to the affluent area known as the Dalrock Heights Addition in Rowlett, Texas, near Dallas. Living "the good life" the upper middle class family surrounded themselves with expensive items. A new Jaguar, a cabin cruiser boat, lavish home furnishings, jewelry, expensive clothing.
Sadly, it is rumored, Darin's business began to lag, and the family experienced a new aspect of life when their finances faltered. Despite other rumors that Darlie and Darin were having issues as a couple, they had their third son, Drake, in 1995. Darlie suffered postpartum depression after the delivery.
In an effort to lose her "baby weight" Darlie began to take diet pills, which proved unhelpful, and she developed mood swings. The couple discussed Darlie's thoughts, including fleeting ones of suicide. The couple reviewed their prospects, and things began to look up for the young family. Then something horrific happened.
On the morning of June 6, 1996, around 2:30 AM, the Rowlett Police Department received a 911 call from the Routier home. Darlie screamed that she and her sons had been stabbed, and that her sons were dieing. Darin, who had been awakened by his wife's screams, ran downstairs and found her and the two boys soaked in blood in the family room.
Devon was not breathing, and his father tried to save him by giving him CPR, only to have his son's blood sprayed in his own face. Damon, meanwhile, struggled to breath.
Soon emergancy personel filled the home. Paramedics worked on the boys as police searched for the intruder, who Darlie said ran toward the garage. A bloody knife was noted by Policeman David Waddell and Sergeant Matthew Walling, on the kitchen counter. Some of Darlie's jewelry was near by. A slashed window screen in the garage was noted, and blood was splattered on the floor.
Sadly, both boys died from their wounds, and Darlie was transported to the hospital, after giving statements to police officers. Her wounds included stab wounds to the right forearm. One of which was administered with such force the bone was splintered, and according to medical reports, marrow was leaking from the splintering. Her throat was slit to within 2mm of the carotid artery, and the carotid sheath was damaged. She had other less dangerous wounds as well, including stabs to her chest, and wounds inside her mouth.
While speaking to police in her blood drenched night shirt, she said an intruder came into the home, and "mounted" her while she was asleep. When she was awakened in this way, she screamed and began to fight off his blows. He then fled toward the garage, and at that point she saw her sons covered in blood. She said the intruder was a medium-to-tall man, dressed in a black T-shirt, black jeans and a baseball cap.
After Darlie was transported to the hospital, the Rowlett Police Department seized the house and began their investigation, which many now believe was botched. There were conflicting statements given by first responders. Seperate pieces of bloody evidence were collected together into common plastic bags, causing cross contamination. Some evidence was placed into plastic shopping bags. Objects were moved about the room before crime scene photos were taken. No fingerprints of the two childern were ever taken. Objects at the crime scene which could have had bearing in the case were ignored. Other methods of mishandling of the crime scene occurred.
Eleven days later, Darlie was arrested on murder charges of her sons. The prosecution's case against Darlie Routier was circumstantial and based on experts who theorized about evidence simply viewed, or collected at the crime scene. Darlie was convicted of the murder of only one son, because the murder weapon of her other son was never found.
Where other such cases have been known to drag at snail's pace through the court system, Darlie was awarded a speedy trial after only four months. Darlie sits on Texas' Death Row.
There are many questions surrounding the arrest, trial, defence, and conviction of Darlie Routier. The media swarmed the story, seemingly biased, hot on the heels of the Susan Smith double murder of her children, which that mother eventually confessed to. Darlie's attorney at trial had an apparent conflict of interest, since he reportedly had a pre-arrangement with Darin Routier and other family members not to pursue any defense that could implicate Darin . The court reporter at trial reportedly mishandled the recording and transcribing of the trial record. The list goes on.
There are those who believe Darlie is guilty, and those who believe she is innocent. Then there are others who simply believe the case was so mishandled the truth may never be found.
Greg Davis, the assistant District Attorney who prosecuted Darlie Routier, was himself indited in Collin County, Texas in December 2010 for record tampering charges.
This man, who all together had many hours on national TV after the conviction of Ms. Routier, was quoted as saying, "If Darlie really is innocent, that only proves that I'm a great lawyer".
The state of Texas has "lost" some very important items of evidence in this case, including key elements from the rape exam done on Darlie the night of the murders. Also the state has spent large sums of money to block Darlie from access to critical evidence like the bloody fingerprint that has never been identified.
This fingerprint which the Greg Davis called "a smudge", actually has eight identifying points, yet has never been run through the AFIS database. This fingerprint was ruled out as belonging to any adult at the crime scene the night of the murders, including first responders, yet Darlie and her defense team have not been allowed to have the print tested. Why?
Dr. Elizabeth Johnson is a highly respected and well published DNA scientist. She has uncovered causes of errors for the DPS in both Austin and Houston, Texas. Dr. Johnson has submitted affidavits in Darlie's case explaining how new DNA technology could absolutely resolve the outstanding DNA issues. To date no new testing has been allowed. Why?
The nurses who testified at trial to Darlies state of mind while at the hospital, eventually admitted they had been "couched" by the prosecution regarding their testimony. Would Mr. Davis stop at nothing to get Darlie Routier's conviction?
I find it interesting that Sgt. Walling said to a superior officer, "Lieutenant, you won't believe what Mr. Routier said to me right before he left to go to the hospital with his wife. He turned to me and I swear to God he said, 'Golly, I guess this is the biggest thing Rowlett's ever had.' The man had two of his children slaughtered tonight, and he's acting like the damn circus is in town!"
On a special televised episode of 20/20, entitled "Her Flesh and Blood," which aired on February 3, 2000, and examined and updated the Routier case found, amoung other things, that the jury may not have been shown photographs of bruises on Darlie's arms (which strongly indicated she fought off an intruder), or the complete transcript of the court proceedings from which to make a final verdict. In fact, the transcript that they did review contained, upon latter examination, 33,000 errors and omissions. Also, the audio tapes the jury heard were incomplete.
One juror admitted he was peer-pressured into a guilty vote. On the televised program, he claimed he never saw the above-mentioned photos, and that the jury was never shown the police surveillance version of Devon's graveside birthday party where Darlie and her family sincerely grieved over the children before the "silly string" incident.
On July 25, 2001, Holly Becka of the Dallas Morning News reported that Darlie's lawyers filed an appeal for her charging conflict of interest and 13 claims of trial errors: Stating: "she deserves a new trial because the judge didn't properly handle her lead defense counsel's conflict of interest in representing the only other suspect in the crime -- her husband." Her appeal doesn't implicate Darin Routier as the culprit but notes that inconsistencies in Darin's testimony could have prevented her counsel from correctly presenting information to the jury.
In early June of 2002, Dr. Richard Jantz, a fingerprint expert, indicated that the unidentified bloody fingerprint left at the crime scene is "consistent with an adult" rather than a child. This testimony supports Darlie Routier's claim that an intruder was present in the house at the time of the murders.
Also in June 2002, Holly Becka of the Dallas Morning News reported that "Darin Routier asked his father-in-law (Robbie Gene Kee) whether he knew anyone who would burglarize his home as part of an insurance scam months before his sons were killed...Ms. Routier's family fears that Mr. Routier mentioned the plot to others, who broke in on their own. They say they think this is possibly why an intruder targeted the home." In fact, neighbors saw a black car watching the house before the Routier boys were killed.
Darin Routier admitted he had looked for someone to burglarize the family home to benefit from an insurance scam, but that he planned to have the burglary occur when the family was not at home.
Then there is the troubling string of deaths committed by confessed serial killer, Tommy Lynn Sells. Many of his murders were not unlike the Routier children's. On more than one occassion, Sells killed mothers and children, boys as well as girls. He did not always bring a weapon with him to the murder location, but used an object available at the scene.
After his arrest in Del Rio, Texas, Sells began extensive confessions to many such crimes, then halted after certain conflicts with the Texas Rangers. It is believed Sells still holds the answers to many unsolved crimes, and is saving information in an effort to extend his own life, since he is himself on death row in Texas.
Sells is also at the center of the wrongful-conviction allegation of Julie Rea-Harper in Illinois.
Julie Rea-Harper is serving a 65 year sentence in prison following her 2002 conviction for the 1997 stabbing death of her son, Joel Kirkpatrick, aged 10 years.
It was alleged that Rea-Harper killed her son in her home in Lawrenceville after she lost custody of him to his father as a result of a contentious divorce.
In May 2004, the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Law School took up the cause, saying courts should grant a new trial based on two letters Sells wrote indicating he knows something about the case. Others have joined in the call for a new trial for the woman, who has continued to proclaim her innocence.
As I said when I first wrote this Hub, some think Darlie Routier is guilty, some think she is innocent. The questions are: Did she receive a fair trial? Was the investigation botched? And will we ever know the truth?
This is take from the following website:
3 years prior to the murder, Darlie was in Pennsylvania visiting relatives. When she returned to Dallas, Darin told her that his car was stolen. Being suspicious, Darlie confronted Darin. Darin fessed up to her and admitted that he when to Barry Fife to have the vehicle stolen. She got angry and Darin and Fife, did not approve of Fifes influence on Darin, and confronted Fife about what he did. She threatened to report him to the police. Fife (who used another party to steal the car) told her, "You do not know who you are dealing with. He would hurt your family and hurt your kids." Darlie eventually let it go because of the threat and the concern of getting her husband into big trouble. When the murders happened three years later, Darlie and Darin both named Barry Fife and Ben Claybour (Denton TX) as possible suspects. Claybour had once stolen Darin's credit cards and charged up $10,000. The Routiers reported this to the FBI, but they never charged Claybour despite the fact that he signed his own name on the charge slips. It was not till years after Darlie's conviction that Darin revealed that a short time before the murders, he had approached Fife to burglarize his house. Fife has a history of this kind of activity to defraud the insurance company. Fife's friend, Ben Claybour, left the state when police wanted to question him. The police did not do any further follow up on Fife or Claybour and arrested Darlie for the murder. They probably arrested her in hopes that she knew more and would rat out her husband rather than face capital murder charges. However, this plan failed because Darlie knew nothing and was not withholding any information from the DA. Unfortunately, after the DA's plan failed, they were now committed to following through her prosecution. They certainly could not release her after making such a public arrest, even though behind the scenes, it was intended to setup her husband. If Fife did arrange a burglary and he used the same person that stole the car, then that person would have a reason to kill Darlie since she would immediately suspect Fife's involvement.