Darin Routier's June 8, 1996 Police Statement Analyzed
The following article falls under the Copyright Disclaimer - Section 107 of The Copyright Act 1976, where “allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” Fair use is use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. Fair use was not a unique doctrine in 1976; federal courts had been using a common law form since the 1840s. The Act codified this common law doctrine with little modification. Under section 107, the fair use of a copyrighted work is not copyright infringement, even if such use technically violates section 106. While fair use explicitly applies to use of copyrighted work for criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research purposes, the defense is not limited to these areas. There are four factors to be considered to determine whether a particular use is fair use:
- the purpose and character of the use (commercial or educational, transformative or reproductive);
- the nature of the copyrighted work (fictional or factual, the degree of creativity);
- the amount and substantiality of the portion of the original work used; and
- the effect of the use upon the market (or potential market) for the original work.
The Act was later amended to extend the fair use defense to unpublished works.
In addition, let it be known that the opinions which follow are my own, and do not necessarily represent the views of the hosting website. Everything that I post, past or present, represents my individual opinions or my understanding of events based on facts that are publicly available to everyone to examine. As such, they are protected under the Free Speech section of the First Amendment to the Constitution, adopted December 15, 1791.
Statement Analysis / Linguistics
It should be noted that linguistic/statement analysis is not a perfect nor infallible science. Nor is it universally accepted by the law enforcement community. However, it does provide for speech evaluation which examines a person’s use of words and grammar in everyday life and in a specific instance. Awkward constructions, use of words different from normal usage, and sentence content and context are called into play to determine the level of deceit or truthfulness. On a subconscious level, people reveal what they may intend to hide, and this is where the value of linguistics becomes effective. That being said, let us now turn to this statement and see what we can glean from it.
Darin Routier's Statement and Analysis
Statement of Darin Routier
Taken by Rowlett P.D., June 8, 1996
This is the statement in which Darin Routier locked in what happened from his point of view for all time. This will be compared against his courtroom testimony in a later article, but first must be compared for internal consistency and against the evidence of the crime scene for further uniformity. It will also be compared against his verbal statements made to others before and after this police statement was made. Statements in boldface type are his statements, statements in plainface type are the analysis. Special note: all spelling and grammatical errors are left uncorrected.
We were watching TV in the Roman Room (Living Room SW Corner of House) watching [illegible] movie on HBO (Satellite). Baby Drake had fallen asleep about 10-10:30. I took him up to bed in parents room. Put blanket on him and turned out lights. I went down stairs to talk to Darlie. We talked about the boys not being able to start base-ball yet because we were so busy with the baby right now. We talked about the business, bills, and how Darlie was having a hard time with taking care of the baby’s (all) today. Darlie said she wanted to sleep on the couch because she would sleep better because the baby would keep her awake. The boys were asleep with pillows and blankets on the floor. Devon was asleep face up in front of TV and Damon was asleep between couch and coffee table by the couch mom was. So I went upstairs to get her a blanket and pillow and came back downstairs to cover her up. We talked a little more about her going to Cancun with some friends across the street and I gave her a kiss goodnight. Told her to dream about me and went upstairs around 1:00am.
The first thing that can be noticed about Darin’s statement is that there are many illegible words/phrases, spelling errors, and grammatical errors. English composition is not his best area. In this first paragraph, Darin describes the scene rather tersely and without much attempt at painting a normal domestic scene, as opposed to Darlie’s statement.
One of the first red flags is how Darin distances himself and Darlie from Baby Drake. He puts him to bed in “parents room.” Not my room, our room, or even Darlie’s room. Why does he feel the need to distance himself from Drake? As it turned out, Drake is the only child who survived the slaughter that was to take place the early morning hours of June 6, 1996. This statement was given two days later; perhaps time gave Darin a chance to think about how things had turned out? One can only speculate what the reason was for his treatment of an innocent baby.
Also, the lack of the personal pronoun “I” in two statements should be noted. When someone does this in a statement, it shows the subconscious at work to distance one’s self from individual involvement. Therefore, one should question the following:
Put blanket on him and turned out lights.
Told her to dream about me and went upstairs around 1:00am.
The sudden switches of the pronouns “we” and “I” are also interesting. This could be his subconscious attempting to deflect any focus away from himself. Such deflection could be indicative of deception or again, distancing one’s self from individual involvement. In a couple of instances Darin uses “we” when writing about himself and Darlie, yet changes to “Darlie” or “her,” separating the two of them. One wants to ask why he is so insistent on splitting himself away from involvement in family matters. It certainly does not paint him in a good light, and gives rise to speculation about his connection with the murders of Damon and Devon later.
Concerning the discussion between himself and his wife, Darin does not mention anything about “having words” as did Darlie in her statement. Noticeable also is his complete lack of mention about Dana. He does remark about the business, bills, baseball for the boys, and Darlie’s problems with taking care of the children all day. This is interesting, as just a few sentences earlier, he states he was the one who put Drake to bed, even while maintaining a discreet distance while doing so.
It is also of interest that Darin notes the positions the boys fell asleep in on the floor. This may be of interest later as well; for now, however, it is merely an interesting statement, especially as he ends this sentence with Damon’s sleeping between “couch and coffee table by the couch mom was.” The wording is very awkward. There is no article “the” to denote “couch and coffee table” at the first mention, although it is used immediately after when noting Darlie’s location. In addition, he doesn’t say “where their mom was,” or “where Darlie (or she) was,” but ends with a baffling, almost Yoda-like, expression. Why he chose to say it this way one can only guess. The next statement begins with the word “so.” However, it is unclear whether she asked
According to Darin, they talked further about Darlie’s going to Cancun with friends and he gave her a goodnight kiss. Recalling Darlie’s statement, there is no mention made of any further discussion; Darin lay down next to her before getting up to go upstairs to bed. Both statements agree he kissed her; Darlie’s is a little more detailed than Darin’s at this point. However, both agree as to the general time he went upstairs.
I went and turned on TV in our room and watched for 10 to 15 min. and took my glasses off and turned TV off. I could not go to sleep for a while but finally I fell asleep. Uncontisly (sic) I heard a noise and then Darlie screaming loud. She was yelling Devon! Devon!! Oh my God Devon! I woke up quickly and grabbed my glasses on the night stand and ran downstairs as fast as I could. Going into the Living Room (Roman) I ran over to Devon laying on the floor where he was when I saw him last and nealed (sic) down over him to see if he was hurt and then looked at the coffee table to see it tipped over on him. When I looked again at his chest there were two holes in his chest with blood and muscle piecing(sic) out. I slapped his face to get him to say or look at me. No response. I started CPR and when I blew into his mouth air came out of his chest. I blew 5 or 6 times and held my hand over the holes on his chest. Then when that didn’t work I blew into one of the holes in his chest. I looked over at Darlie and she was on the phone calling 911.
Notice how in this section, Darin uses the pronoun “I” almost to excess, directly involving himself in the action taking place. In this area, his use of pronouns is essentially correct; his grammar is almost flawless. However, his spelling is atrocious. In the three instances where the transcriber uses (sic), the words are unconsciously, kneeled, and peeking respectively. [Note: sic is short for the Latin sic erat scriptum, “thus was it written.”]
Something else that should be noted is the balance of a statement. There are usually three parts to any statement, like there are three parts to any story (which is fundamentally what a statement is, a story). The part that leads up to the event, the narrating of the event, and what unfolds after the event. These parts should normally be balanced, or even, in sentence/word count and the content should contain approximately the same amount of detail (about ⅓ each). Darin’s statement is definitely off this standard, most of his statement dealing with the event, followed by a large section leading up to the event, and a very minor part dealing with what came after. This can be indicative of deception, so we need to pay close attention to his narration of what happened.
Missing from the first sentence is a minor detail, an article in front of the abbreviation TV. It should read “the TV” in both instances, but it lacks here. One of the things grammar indicates, be it good or bad, is an educational level as well as a socio-psychological level. Considering the regional linguistics, this omission shows a lack of higher functional education. On the other hand, it could merely be Darin was inattentive when writing his statement. However, since it is a recurring error, one could almost certainly ascribe it to lack of functional grammar education. Also of note is the use of “min.” for “minutes” and missing quotation marks; both speak to educational errors in his statement.
The chronological development is fairly consistent in this statement, which indicates he is retelling the events in order, truthfully. However, he adds an extraneous statement concerning his inability to “go to sleep,” which he finally does. One could question why this is included, as it echoes somewhat Darlie’s similar account in her statement. This could suggest deception if they are comparing notes and “getting their stories straight” so to speak. Also, he does not mention getting undressed for bed, something which will be problematic later.
While sleeping, he heard a noise but does not describe it, only goes on to mention hearing Darlie screaming loud. The word “loud” is not necessary, one does not scream quietly. He heard her screaming Devon’s name, and this woke him up quickly, reminiscent of Darlie’s coming awake at Damon’s touch and crying. He mentions his glasses but not any clothing; this is the second omission of that detail.
His first act on entering the room was to go to Devon where he remembered seeing him before going upstairs to bed. He checked him to see if he was hurt or if the coffee table had tipped over on top of him. He then checked him again and saw two holes in his chest. This is a puzzle which must be addressed. Why did he not see the holes upon his first check, or why did he not mention them in the first check? This is a major hole in his statement and should have been addressed at that point in the investigation.
Taking action, Darin slapped Devon but did not get a response. He then started CPR, but the act of blowing air into Devon was ineffective because of the holes “on his chest.” This wording is awkward; perhaps educational error again? Darin then tried again while holding a hand over the holes and then tried blowing directly into one of the holes “in his chest.” Note the wording is more in line with what others would have said. He looked for Darlie, and noted she was calling 911 on the phone.
I ran over to Damon laying on floor in hallway between wall and side of couch. He had no pulse but I could not see any injuries. Police came in and I told them that my babys were stabbed and she told them that he went out of the garage. I ran upstairs to put my pants on. I looked over and Drake was crying and I felt [illegible] he was ok. I noticed my wallet left on the floor and all I could think to do was to go to Karen’s house for help. I needed someone to help [illegible] and [illegible] the paramedics when they arrived. I went downstairs ran out the house and ran across the street to Karen and Terry door. I banged 5-6 times as hard as I could until Terry comes to the door 1st and when I told them that Devon and Damon were stabbed they were in shock and ran over with me to the house and that was when they were putting Damon on a stretcher. I knew that Devon was dead before I ran across street and Damon had no pulse but the paramedic carried him out in a blanket out the front door.
In this paragraph, there is a change in verb tense from past tense to a present tense; this occurs when “Terry comes to the door 1st…” Verb tense change is usually done in a subconscious manner and should raise a red flag, as it could present deceit on the part of the narrator. The question is was this a memory, was it part of a script between Darin and Darlie, or was it just a slip in grammar. As has already been noted, his grammar is not the best.
Moving from Devon to Damon, who has moved position, Darin does not find a pulse, but sees no injuries. Police are now on the scene, Darin informs them of the stabbings, and she, obviously Darlie, tells them “he” went out through the garage. A problem here is that “he” has not been identified, therefore to use this noun means that whoever “he” is, it is possible that Darin, and possibly Darlie, might know who “he” is. Either way, this is another item that should have been questioned, but wasn’t.
Things now become confusing, which is indicative of Darin’s state of mind at the time of the incident. Drake, although crying, was okay. In putting on his pants, he noted his wallet was on the floor. Next comes a break in the narrative, as Darin can only think of getting help from Karen (Neal, the neighbor across the street). Did he truly believe the paramedics would need help as he stated? He did go across the street, enlisting help from the shocked neighbors. Going back to the house, they noticed Damon being put on a stretcher. Darin knew Devon was dead, and Damon had no pulse he could detect, but the paramedic was trying to save him.
I ran out yelling that we have to find who did this and Karen told me that Darlie was cut too! I never knew that she was hurt yet she had blood all over her from the neck down to the bottom of her nightshirt. She was standing in the door way with the paramedics said she needed to go to the hospital. So we helped her onto the stretcher and she said “Darin you have to promise me we will find this man! He killed our babys.” I walked back into house pushed my way through the police and saw the knife on the bar in kitchen w/blood all over it. [illegible] went to garage [illegible] to look at the window that the police had said he entered and I went out of the house and walked across the street and neighbors were there to comfort me and ask me about what happened. I sat for a minute on a curb and walked over to the ambulance where Damon was and asked paramedic was he alive and they said no. I was in shock. Karen told me to go with Darlie in the ambulance. So I got in and they threw me out and said they needed to work. So then they asked me questions (fire dept) (SS# + address + name) and I asked what hospital and no one knew. So found out where Darlie went (Baylor Dallas) and drove over to the hospital. At hospital I was questioned by Det. Frosch for hours.
This final part of Darin’s statement has some problems with articles and pronouns, but otherwise raises no major red flags. His claim that he ran outside yelling is corroborated somewhat by another witness, William Gorsuch, whose testimony will be examined later in this regard. However, he fails to mention meeting Officer Wadling in his front yard. This is a serious omission and needs examination. Why did this not make his statement? It is obvious that he could not forget this incident, so why did he not mention it at all?
Karen (Neal, the neighbor from across the street) told him Darlie was cut. At this, he uses an exclamation point. Certainly, this is an awful stress-filled point, but it seems a little out of place right here. Claiming that he never knew she was hurt, despite having blood all over her contradicts her statement of when he found out about her injuries. Darin really confuses the incident more by not clearly stating what happened. There is a run-on sentence that leaves something out. By doing so, he raises suspicion as to what exactly happened. “Standing in the door way with the paramedics said she need to go to the hospital.” There should have been questions raised and answered about this statement.
His next claim of pushing through the police to go back into the house is simply incredible and not very likely. Once the police were stationed outside and told no one goes inside, not even the police chief was allowed inside. But Darin wants the reader to believe it didn’t apply to him. Then, after surveying the scene and noting the knife and the window in the garage, he went out and across the street to neighbors who comforted him, and wanted to know what happened. Human nature being what it is, this is probably one of the few completely truthful statements Darin made.
The final parts of this section deal with Darin being told Damon was dead, his going into shock, and questions to him and from him concerning where Darlie was taken. Apparently, no one knew, which is a little hard to believe, since the paramedics, police, and fire personnel are all connected via radio to a central dispatch. Upon finding out her destination, he mentions “drove over to the hospital.” Since he was “in shock” and not truly fit to drive, why does he not mention that he asked a neighbor to drive him there? Is there something that happened on the way that he does not want to mention? The only mention of the hospital is that he was questioned by Detective Frosch for hours while he was there.
Overall, Darin’s statement varies with Darlie’s in quite a few areas. Suspicion falls on him, but not because of his being on site of the crime, but because of how he produced this statement. If he had corroborated more of Darlie’s statement, even more suspicion may have befallen him. We do not know this, however, because what he has written here contradicts the testimony of police officers, paramedics, neighbors, and his wife. Internal cohesion is not present, nor is external corroboration. This statement needs to be viewed by someone familiar with the crime and taken apart sentence by sentence to come to a better understanding of what may have actually happened with Darin and his role in the incident.
Now we're going to start getting into the meat of the research. An analysis of the 911 call will come first, followed by a synthesis of the call with Darlie's statement and then adding in Darin's to see if a composite rendition will yield anything resembling the truth of what happened that night. Then taking an analysis of the crime scene and the forensic evidence, and comparing and contrasting with the linguistic analyses, maybe a further distillation will occur.
At any rate, from here on out it is going to be much more interesting. I will be referring to other hub editors, and giving credit for each one's work that I reference. It's going to be quite a ride...
© 2017 Oliver Penwell Esquire