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The Disputed Conviction of Darlie Lynn Routier
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Darlie Routier's murder conviction has been debated in depth since the day she was found guilty 22 years ago. There have been numerous documentaries, a made for TV movie, countless websites and blogs, and several books written about the case. Although closely followed in the State of Texas, the trial didn't have the same level of nation-wide fascination as the Susan Smith, Casey Anthony, or Jodi Arias trials did. Cameras weren't as frequently allowed in courtrooms in 1996 and Turner Broadcasting's Headline News (HLN) and Court TV didn't exist to broadcast each day of the trial into every home. If the Darlie Routier case had occurred in more recent years, it would have been a household name.
Since her conviction, Darlie Routier's attorneys have filed several pleas and appeals to the Texas courts. The last known appeal for re-examination of physical evidence was filed by her current and long time appellate attorney, Stephen Cooper, and accepted by State District Judge Gracie Lewis in 2014 requesting updated forensic DNA testing of evidence found at the crime scene. Stephen Cooper's intent was to prove through DNA test results that an outside intruder was in fact in the house, committed the heinous murders of Darlie and Darin Routier's two sons, and attacked Darlie before fleeing the scene.
Numerous items from the crime scene were submitted. The majority of the items were samples from the nightshirt Darlie wore on the night of the murders, but other samples included fingerprints on a knife blade handle, (The murder weapon) a swab from the sweatband of a cap, 2 bucual (saliva) swabs from Darlie, and a sample from a sock found outside of the house containing blood stains belonging to both of her boys. The evidence was submitted to the UNT Health Science Center, Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics in Fort Worth, Texas, for DNA testing.
The test results were returned to Judge Lewis in June of 2015. The testing conducted on the knife handle, the sweatband of the cap, and the sock turned out to be inconclusive due to their poor condition. However, the test results on the nightshirt samples revealed more than Darlie Routier's attorney had bargained for.
The nightshirt samples submitted, revealed: (In summary)
" A female partial DNA profile was obtained from 10-2589-502. Darlie Routier cannot be excluded as the contributor of the DNA from 10-2589-502. The DNA profile from 10-2589-502 has an estimated frequency of occurrence of 1 in approximately 150 quintillion Caucasian individuals. To a reasonable degree of scientific certainty (Assuming no identical twin) Darlie Routier is the source of the DNA from 10-2589-502. No Y-STR results were obtained from 10-2589-502."
A copy of the 2015 DNA test results can be found here: https://youcouldbewrong.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/dr-06262015103716.pdf
The nightshirt blood samples that were submitted with the hopes of finding male DNA only revealed Darlie's DNA as the prosecution originally claimed during the trial. These new test results utilizing new and improved technology as opposed to 1996 technology, just all the more confirmed Darlie Routier's guilt. DNA technology has advanced significantly since the night of the murders, and readings can be gleaned even from the trace oils on human skin. On this last DNA study, the results once again pointed solely to Darlie Routier. These results are not posted or even mentioned on the "fordarlie.org" website, overseen by Darlie's mother, Darlie Kee.
SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION
This is a highly debated case and it's important for the reader to understand that these debates are not about someone awaiting trial, Darlie Routier has already had her day in court. She was convicted by a jury of her peers and was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Was the trial perfect and free of errors? Of course not, no trial is or ever will be.
People that believe in Darlie Routier's innocence provide all kinds of reasons and theories that they often try to pass as fact as to how she couldn't have been the killer and/or how she deserves a retrial. Claims are frequently made such as botched evidence testing, contamination of the crime scene, manipulated evidence, prosecutorial misconduct, evidence suppression, witness tampering, jury tampering, perjury; you name it, it's been thrown out there. But when asked to support these claims with provable fact, the Darlie supporters just can't do it. Their "facts" consist of hearsay and theory which would not hold up and obviously didn't hold up in a court of law.
There's a large group of amateur armchair detectives that sit at home in front of their computer screens watching YouTube video's critiquing the techniques utilized by the evidence investigators and lab technicians at the Routier crime scene. These are individuals that are not trained forensic investigators and had no part in processing that particular crime scene. They're hardly qualified to criticize the certified professionals that were actually there doing their jobs. These denunciator's are simply repeating things they've read on an Internet Darlie support site or saw on a YouTube video which prompts them to say "Oh, the police botched up that crime scene." People ALWAYS say the system failed when a trial verdict doesn't go their way.
When people don't agree with a verdict where circumstantial evidence convicted the defendant, blame always goes directly to the police and the investigators; even when the local police detectives decided that it would be a good idea to bring in outside investigators for a second opinion including experienced FBI personnel and a crime scene investigator with 39 years of experience.
Much of the debate is based on incorrect and inaccurate information, in some cases even outright made-up information is passed as fact. Although this Hub contains some open questions and opinions, it's based on the trial transcripts, media interviews, police reports, DNA test results, defendant statements, physical forensic evidence found at the scene and even Darlie Routier's own courtroom testimony and her written statement to police 2 days after the murders. The trial transcripts were found to contain numerous errors and have been corrected utilizing audio tapes of the trial. Many Darlie supporters feel that the transcript errors alone warrant a retrial. Obviously, if a retrial were somehow granted it still wouldn't change the forensic evidence that convicted her.
Darlie and her family of course maintain her innocence, but what family says their loved one convicted of crime is guilty? Many Darlie supporters point out that it's been 22 years and she still claims her innocence. She's committed to that claim at this point, she's on death row; the very moment she admitted guilt her appeals process would come to a grinding halt and a date for execution would be scheduled immediately.
Most new generation Darlie supporters admit they haven't read the trial transcripts. A guilty or innocent opinion cannot be accurately formed based on watching YouTube videos or simply reading a book; which are inevitably someone else's opinion. With the unique complicity of the Darlie Routier case, people who say she's innocent as well as people who say she's guilty are truly not qualified to offer an opinion until they know all the facts of the case. Due to most published literature referencing the Darlie Routier case being a one-sided opinion (the author either believes in her innocence or her guilt) the closest one can come to achieving unbiased information about the case and proceedings would result from reading the court transcripts in their entirety.
Unfortunately, many if not most newcomers to the Darlie Routier case are immediately fed propaganda and manipulated facts of the case due to the large number of Darlie supporter blogs and websites. There aren't many internet sites supporting her guilty verdict because most people feel that justice was duly served and have moved on; it's old news. Darlie support sites as well as some authors that believe in her innocence are notorious for engaging in a journalistic tactic known as "cherry picking." Cherry picking is where the author selectively pulls tidbits of information about a subject that affirms their position or the point they're trying to get across. In doing this they neglect to provide all of the data or information about their position that might countermand what they've written. Its not outright lying per se, it's more like just not providing all the information in it's entirety. Most if not all of the Darlie support sites are good at using the cherry picking tactic when extracting testimonial quotes from the Darlie Routier case court transcripts. They'll quote a question and answer from witness testimony that relates to their point, but won't print all that followed in that testimony in a prosecutorial line of questioning. This is a method of manipulating the reader and their beliefs, also referred to as "quote mining.". Politicians are famous for cherry picking during campaign debates. The problem with the cherry picking tactic is that it directly suppresses evidence or additional information that could lead to a more complete picture; which of course is the intent of the author.
A very small number of people who blurt out their opinions on this case have actually conducted any independent research themselves. They prefer to absorb information in a "pre-digested" form by reading and quoting the work of others.
THE 911 CALL
On June 6, 1996, at 2:31 am, the emergency communications center (911) in Rowlett, Texas received a call from a private residence in the upscale Dalrock Heights subdivision owned by 28 year old Darin Routier and his 26 year old wife, Darlie. The caller, Darlie Routier, frantically told police dispatcher Doris Trammell that her home had been broken into and that an intruder had stabbed two of her sons, 6 year old Devon and 5 year old Damon. She claimed she had been attacked her as well.
Within three minutes of the 911 call, Rowlett Police Officer David Waddell, was the first to arrive at the Routier home. Upon arrival he observed Darin Routier coming out of the front door wearing only pants with no shirt or shoes. Officer Waddell, not knowing if this was the suspect, drew his weapon and told him to stop. Darin identified himself and told the officer that his kids and been stabbed and were dying. He told Officer Waddell that a nurse lived across the street and he was going to get her. When Waddell entered the house, he was shocked at the site before his eyes as he surveyed the scene. Two young boys lay on the family room floor covered in their own blood with obvious deep penetrating stab wounds to their chests and backs. There was blood everywhere; around them seeping into the carpet, on the walls and all over the kitchen floor. Officer Waddell stated that one of the boys (Devon) was obviously dead, and the other boy (Damon) was close to the wall near the hallway doing what he called "a slow craw" and making gurgling sounds as he tried to breathe. The mother, Darlie, clutched a wet bloody towel to her neck and was standing near him on the phone. She began screaming at Officer Waddell that the intruder might still be in the house and that he ran out through the garage. Waddell instructed Darlie to get a towel and put pressure on the boys wounds. Which, it should be pointed out here, she didn't do. He told her 4 separate times to put pressure on Damon's wounds and she never did it. With his weapon in hand, he entered the utility room and peered into the darkness of the garage. He stated in his testimony that both his training and his instinct told him it was best to wait for backup before actually entering the dark garage alone. Seconds later, Rowlett police Sergeant Matthew Walling arrived on the scene along with a Rowlett Fire Rescue ambulance staffed by paramedic's Jack Kolbye and Brian Koschak.
The paramedics "staged" or waited outside the front door waiting for the officers to secure the scene and tell them it was safe to enter. Officer's Walling and Waddell drew their weapons and began searching the house starting in the utility room adjacent to the kitchen which led to the garage where Darlie said she had chased the intruder out of the house. Being dark, the officers switched on flashlights, found the light switch, but didn't find anyone in the garage or spot anyone in the back yard. They did observe an open window in the garage close to the floor with a vertical cut to the screen.
A short time later Officer Walling opened the front door and told paramedic's Kolbye and Koschak to come in and advised they were going to need additional medical help. Paramedic Koschak radioed for an additional ambulance as he followed his partner into the house.
Paramedic Kolbye went to Damon located to the left of the entry hallway in the family room close to a wall and paramedic Koschak went to Devon on the other side of the room at the foot of the couch. Kolbye testified that Damon was face down and took his last breath as he turned him over. He began trying to ventilate Damon with a bag valve mask but he stated that Darin and Darlie were both shouting which was distracting so he picked Damon up and carried him outside to a stretcher and began CPR. Koschak testified that after assessing Devon and noticing that he was obviously dead, he went over to Darlie in the kitchen to look at her neck. He also wanted to get her away from the shouting so he took her out on the front porch to assess her wounds. Both medics’ were asked in court if Darlie was visibly upset and crying in the house and they both said she wasn't crying but there was a lot of shouting going on. Paramedic Koschak testified that she didn't say a word on the way to the hospital.
THE CRIME SCENE
Officers Waddell and Walling searched the upstairs areas of the house and discovered Darin and Darlie's youngest son, 6-month old Drake, in his crib. Fortunately he had not been harmed. No intruder was discovered upstairs or anywhere else in the home.
In the meantime, K-9 officers had arrived on the scene and began searching a wide perimeter around the house; no intruder found.
Paramedic Kolbye stated that when they loaded Damon in the ambulance he was just barely hanging on and gasping for air in his blood filled lungs. They proceeded transporting to Baylor Medical Center, Dallas, but he died en-route. Paramedic Koschak remained at the scene and when the second RFD paramedic team, Larry Byford, Rick Zimmerman, and Rick Coleman arrived, he turned over Darlie's care to them. Rowlett Police asked Koschak to examine the baby (Drake) and Darin who was also unharmed.
While paramedic's were tending to Darlie's lacerations, (Not stabs like the boys) she told Sergeant Walling that an intruder had entered her house, and had gotten on top of her while she slept on the couch. Darlie's well known story changing habits began right here at this point and would continue to present day. She originally told Officer Wadell that the intruder awakened her, she screamed, and after fighting with him at the end of the bar, (Located between the kitchen and the family room) he ran on through the kitchen, through the utility room. and into the garage area. She said it was then that she realized the boys had been attacked and savagely butchered. Approximately fifteen minutes later, Darlie told Sergeant Walling that the fight between her and the intruder occurred while she was still on the couch. Both officers testified to these different stories during the trial.
Prosecution: And when she told you that she had a struggle with the individual, did she indicate to you that morning where that struggle had taken place?
Sergeant Walling: Yes, sir, at the couch.
Prosecution: . At the couch?
Sergeant Walling: Yes, sir.
Prosecution: Are you sure that she didn't tell you that the struggle occurred between the kitchen and the family room?
Sergeant Walling: No, sir. She said that when she woke up, the person was standing over her, and that she was laying on the couch, and that she began struggling with him
It was now 3 am and the paramedic's were preparing to transport Darlie. Her husband, Darin, told her he would meet her at the hospital. Darin told a next door neighbor he was shook up and asked him if would drive him to the hospital. The neighbor's wife volunteered to remain at the house and stay with baby Drake. Evidence investigators and technicians now began arriving along with local media trucks. Neighbors had begun to gather outside of the crime scene tape.
RED FLAGS AND SUSPICIONS
In this author's opinion, the first red flag would have to be the fact that not once did Darlie ask about her youngest child Drake, or go upstairs to check on him. Her two oldest boys are laying on the floor in their own blood stabbed to death and she never asked anyone about her baby upstairs? There's something seriously wrong with that picture. We know she didn't ask about him (or check on him) from the time she called 911 to when she was admitted to the hospital, unless she asked the paramedic's enroute to the hospital (which neither mentioned in court) or Darin told her Drake was fine before she dialed 911; again, not mentioned anywhere.
Even if Darin told her Drake was fine before she dialed 911, what mother wouldn't rush upstairs to see for herself that her baby was ok? Especially with the possibility of the supposed intruder still being in the house. What mother in the world would leave their baby all alone upstairs in that situation? ....Unless she already knew Drake was fine because there was no intruder.
Darlie told investigators that she and the boys had decided to sleep in the family room with the boys on the floor and her on the couch watching TV (As later discovered she had done for several nights before the murders) while Darin and baby Drake slept upstairs in the bedroom. She said Drake's tossing and turning in his crib upstairs kept her awake. The family room was the scene of the crime. This is where the boys were viciously stabbed and Darlie claimed she was attacked by an intruder while sleeping on the couch.
Lieutenant Grant Jack, commander of the Rowlett Police Department's Investigative Division, was summoned at home and arrived on the scene around 3 AM. He was briefed by detective Jimmy Patterson at the house as to what Darlie had stated and began conducting his own assessment of the scene. As the crime scene was being "processed," Rowlett PD evidence specialist, Sergeant David Nabors, began dusting for prints and examining blood evidence as other technicians were taking photos all over the house. After realizing the magnitude of the crime, Lt. Jack thought it best to call for some investigative assistance. He called in James Cron, a retired veteran Dallas PD crime scene investigator with an excellent career track record. Cron was now doing consulting work for other law enforcement agencies in the Dallas area. After being notified he arrived at about 6AM and began his analysis of the scene. While gathering evidence in the kitchen, Sgt. Nabors noticed Darlie's purse and the many gold rings and bracelets (Including a Rolex watch) she had worn that day sitting on the kitchen counter where she had taken them off before lying down on the couch. He thought it was odd that an intruder that presumably came in to rob the house would walk right past the purse and jewelry without taking it all.
Nabors also noticed that with all the blood on the counter and kitchen floor that the sink was perfectly clean and the cabinet doors under the sink were clean as well with the exception of blood smudges around the edges. It gave the appearance that someone had tried to wipe the counter and cabinet doors clean of blood. Nabor's sprayed luminol, a chemical compound that picks up the copper found in blood which often remains behind after attempts are made of cleaning it up. The luminol illuminated indicated there had been a significant amount of blood there which had been obviously wiped up.
James Cron found it odd that other than a blood smudge on the door leading to the utility room and two blood smudges on the side of the washing machine, there was nothing else past that point to indicate that an intruder had exited through the garage as Darlie had claimed; not one drop of blood anywhere. The cut screen on the garage window was just that, cut. It wasn't bent in or out or stretched in any way to indicate someone had gone through it in either direction. The dust on the window sill was undisturbed, there was no blood or fingerprints found on the window or the screen, and the ground outside the window had no bloody footprints or footprints of any kind. There was absolutely nothing to indicate anyone had gone into the garage and through the window; coming in or going out.
The investigators discovered a motion sensor light on the redwood spa the Routier's had installed in the backyard. Tests revealed that it would stay on for 17 minutes after it was activated. If Darlie's "timeline of events" was accurate according to her 911 call and what she first told police, that light would have still been on when officers Waddle and Walling arrived on the scene in 3 minutes and 4 minutes after the 911 call. Both officers testified that it was not on when they initially checked the garage and backyard. Darlie repeatedly stated that the intruder exited the house through the garage and went out the window.
A significant amount of blood was found on the kitchen floor in front of the sink. The only footprints found were Darlie's bare footprints and a partial boot-print found to be consistent with Sergeant Walling's boots from where he first checked the garage. There was broken glass on the kitchen floor from a wine glass, but the glass was on top of the blood, there were no blood drops discovered on top of the shards of glass suggesting that it had been broken after the events that had supposedly taken place. Examination of Darlie's feet (she was barefooted) revealed no cuts from the glass. A vacuum cleaner was found turned over but with blood underneath it as if deliberately placed there after the fact. An intact expensive flower vase was found lying on the floor with long stem flowers. The stems were unbroken giving the investigators the impression that they had just been laid there, not knocked over during a struggle. One investigator later commented "Strange....maximum human devastation with minimal property damage."
Cron quietly approached Lt Jack outside in front of the house and told him that from what he was seeing so far, it was starting to look like these murders had been committed by someone living in the house. Lt. Jack told Cron that he had the same gut feeling after he heard Darlie's account of what happened and compared it to the scene. As the investigation proceeded it was beginning to appear as if the scene of the crime had been staged to give the impression that a struggle had taken place between Darlie and an intruder. None of the forensic evidence was matching Darlie's initial story. Cron told Lt. Jack that if a struggle had taken place, it was minimal and if an intruder had been there, he couldn't find any evidence of his presence in the house. He said there was no visible evidence to suggest that someone had exited through the garage as Darlie had stated.
Author Note - Out of respect for the victims and family, no photos of the body's will be displayed here.
THE BLOOD EVIDENCE
Darlie Routier was again interviewed the day after the murders in the hospital, this time by detectives. Her story was now more detailed and changed a bit from her original story.
"I woke up hearing my son Damon saying 'Mommy Mommy,' as he tugged on my nightshirt. I opened my eyes and felt a man get off me. I got up to chase after him. As I flipped the light in the kitchen on, I saw him open his hand and let the knife drop to the floor. Then he ran out through the garage. I went over and picked up the knife. I shouldn't have picked it up. I probably covered up the fingerprints. I shouldn't have picked it up. I looked over and saw my two babies with blood all over them. I didn't realize my own throat had been cut until I saw myself in a mirror. I screamed out to my husband."
The luminol application to the kitchen area showed that a significant amount of blood had been rinsed down the drain most likely with the sprayer. It showed wiped up blood from the counter, the cabinet doors, and on the sides of the sink. There also appeared to be wiped up blood smears on the water faucet and the sprayer as well. Blood discovered on the inside of the cabinet doors where it had run down from the sink proved to be Darlie’s. Blood found on the sink back splash turned out to be a combination of both Damon and Devon's blood.
Darlie denied cleaning or even being anywhere near the kitchen sink, despite her blood being everywhere around it and in front of it. (Until she testified in court, yep, her story changed again) That would insinuate that the supposed intruder stopped to wash his hands, clean up the sink, the counter, the outside of the cabinet doors, the sprayer, the back splash, and wipe up two of Darlie's foot prints from the floor all while being chased by Darlie. And if so, how did he accomplish that without leaving a single bloody footprint on the floor in front of the sink that had Darlie's blood everywhere? That idea is so preposterous it's not worth considering. More on the sink will be addressed later in this article.
Investigators discovered blood drops on top of blood drops on the small carpet immediately in front of the sink indicating that someone that was bleeding had stood there for some time. (Identified as belonging to Darlie) And as mentioned, luminol applied to the kitchen floor showed that someone had attempted to clean up Darlie's bloody footprints facing the sink.
As Darlie's accounts of what happened continued to change in the days following the murders, she now said that she fought the intruder on the couch who was a male, about 6 feet tall, wearing a black t-shirt ball cap and blue jeans that was holding a large knife while still on top of her. With the various cuts that Darlie presented upon arrival of the police, no appreciable amount of blood was found on the couch or the pillows where Darlie's second version of what happened claims the knife fight took place.
There were no stab marks, punctures, slashes or cast off blood of any kind discovered on the couch where Darlie claimed the knife attack took place. This "revised" version came minutes after her first story changed from fighting the intruder just inside the kitchen area just before the intruder ran into the garage.
A bloody hand print of Damon's was found on the carpet where he was first stabbed and a second hand print was found on the couch (which had initially been wiped off-discovered with Luminol testing) showing that he had moved. A trail of his blood discovered on the carpet indicated that he moved a second time toward the entry way where he was found when emergency services arrived. Blood spatter found on the wall suggested that he had been stabbed a second time by someone who was bleeding. Tests on blood drops near Damon's body were identified as Darlie’s.
A blood imprint of the knife on the carpet was found near Devon’s body. A small pool of blood indicated that someone bleeding, most likely from the hand or arm had been there. Blood found pooling at the tip of the knife indicated that blood had run down the knife from the handle. This blood turned out be a combination of Damon's and Darlie's blood. Darlie had a laceration on the top of her right arm and she is right handed. Darlie told police she saw the intruder drop the knife in the utility room, she picked it up and placed it on the kitchen island. She never said she carried into the living room where it had obviously been laid down next to Damon's body.
Damon and moved some distance from where he was initially stabbed. His body was found near the wall almost directly in front of the bathroom. It appeared that he was trying his best to make it out of the family room and move toward the stairs. Maybe to get away from Darlie?
DARLIE'S NECK WOUND AND THE MYSTERIOUS BRUISES
Darlie has said more than once in post-conviction interviews from prison "How could I have done those things to myself? My neck was cut from ear to ear."
Hardly, the 3 and a half inch laceration on her neck was defined by two physician's (one a surgeon) as superficial. It was not life threatening as Darlie supporters and many documentaries would have you believe. Yes, one end of the cut was close to a carotid artery, but the carotid arteries are also very close to the surface. Her laceration did not penetrate muscle and was less than a half of an inch deep. Darlie has stated that she had to go to surgery to have her necklace removed that was embedded in her neck from the knife blade. That is 100% false. The surgeon, erring on the side of caution decided to do a small exploratory procedure to evaluate the laceration.
Here is a perfect example of inaccurate, or most likely intentionally made-up information about the necklace and surgery direct from the Darlie support site "fordarlieroutier.org." In reference to the necklace the website dramatically states:
"She was in surgery for 2 hours, the necklace was removed by doctors from her neck wound."
The truth is, when nurse Jodi Fitts removed the bandage applied by EMS in the ambulance, the necklace fell right off of her neck, prior to any surgery. The website says "doctors" as if a whole team of surgeons were meticulously working on her to save her life. There was one physician, Dr. Santos conducting the procedure accompanied by a resident (doctor in training) who was observing. The website goes on to say that she was in surgery for "2 hours." According to her medical chart, the cleansing, evaluation, and closing procedure took 49 minutes.
All the surgeon (Dr, Santos) did was take a peek at the cut, cleanse it, and suture it right back up. He had her placed in the ICU only to keep the press from hounding her. Dr Santos testified that under any other circumstances he probably would have discharged her later that morning. The press in-turn, (at the family's approval and invitation) jumped at the opportunity of getting photos of Darlie in bed in the ICU. It's standard procedure for any patient in a critical care unit to have an IV, be placed on oxygen, a heart monitor, and pulse oximetry, etc...no matter how serious the patient's condition is. So now we have these dramatic photos of Darlie in bed with all these wires and tubes and her intentionally displaying a look on her face like she's dying. All with a simple procedure that would have under any other circumstance had her discharged from the ER the same day. The Darlie supporters proudly display these photos on their blogs and websites and say "OMG, look at her, she almost died, she couldn't have possibly done this to herself."
Darlie and her defense council claimed that her bruises, all predominately on the underside of her right arm were defensive bruises where she had fought off the intruder. If that's true, what caused the bruises? This intruder supposedly had a knife, not a baseball bat. Why were there no slashes or stabs underneath her right arm where she was using it for defense? Why only bruises? Bruises like that don't just come from someone grabbing your arm, they came from striking something. If she were striking out or defending herself with her arms how did she not get cut by the knife? No cuts were found under either one of her arms. Why weren't the palms of her hands or her fingers cut while fighting a man with knife?
Suggested theories as to the causes for the bruises have included the boys kicking with their legs to ward off the stabs. (Especially the right arm holding the knife) Juror Rina Way said on the "Liza Show" that the fact that Devon had a knife wound on his buttocks suggested that he had both legs up in the air kicking Darlie's right arm to ward off the stabs to his chest. The other theory is that Darlie (or with Darin's assistance) created the bruises herself to support her story of fighting the intruder..
A trauma surgeon, an emergency room nurse and four ICU nurses testified during the trial that the bruises under her right arm were definitely not there while Darlie was in their care and up to when she was discharged. As to be expected, the Darlie supporters claim that their testimony was manipulated by the prosecution. This infers that a doctor and four nurses from Baylor University Medical Center were talked into risking their careers and risked receiving jail time by committing perjury on the witness stand. After the trial, juror Charlie Samford publicly stated that if he had seen the photo of her under arm bruise, he would have voted not guilty. The trial transcripts clearly describe Asst. DA Toby Shook instructing the courtroom bailiff to be sure to show the photo of her large underarm (Right arm) bruise to every single juror. Was juror Charlie Samford asleep when this picture was shown to them?
During the trial, Dr. Alejandro Santos, the trauma surgeon that closed Darlie's wounds was called to testify. Asst. DA Toby Shook showed Dr. Santos the infamous bruise photo of Darlie's right arm (Shown below) that her supporters say prove that she fought off an intruder.
Prosecutor: Okay. Now, you never saw any evidence of this injury to the right arm on her stay [in the hospital] on the 6th, 7th or 8th of June; is that right?
Dr. Santos: Other than the other wounds that we talked about earlier, no, I did not see any other type of injury.
Prosecutor: How long would it take for bruising like this to occur to the arm after receiving this blunt force trauma?
Dr. Santos: I'd say 24 to 48 hours
Prosecutor: Would the nurses make notes of that if they saw this type of injury?
Dr. Santos: Yes. That's part of their duties, is to find injuries that we may have missed. And certainly something like this would be something I would expect the nurses to point out to me or to the other doctors before we sent her home.
Even Darlie's friend and neighbor Karen Neal, a trained Registered Nurse, testified that she didn't see the underarm bruise on her right arm while visiting Darlie every day in the hospital. She said the only bruise she observed was around the cut on the top of Darlie's arm. It's interesting how no one saw these mysterious bruise's before June 10th, except of course ...you guessed it, Darlie's family members.
The bruise photo's were taken on June 10, - 48 hours after Darlie's discharge from the hospital. That falls right in line with Dr. Santos' expert opinion of bruising occurring within 24-48 hours. June 10th was 48 hours after her discharge. Which is highly suggestive of assisted or self infliction when she got back home from the hospital prior to the police photo's.
THINGS JUST DON'T ADD UP
So according to Darlie, an intruder breaks in the house and stab's the sleeping boys with such great force that several of the stab wounds went almost all the way through Devon's chest. All of this vicious action takes place just a few feet from her and she doesn't hear a sound; she continues sleeping. Then with the element of surprise on his side, the intruder attacks her but for some unknown reason he completely changes his attack style by performing slashes, not high force stabs as he did on the children. Why would he just slash at an adult who could fight back better then a child? Why would he not ram that knife down into her chest several times as was done to the two boys and be done with it? It makes no sense that he would only slash her where she could wake up, fight back, scream for help, or even survive and become a witness that could testify against him. And she claimed she slept through her attack too ! The Darlie Supporters say that it was just so traumatic to her that she erased it from her memory and doesn't remember it.
The only blood discovered in the utility room, (Which led to the garage) was found on the edge of the utility room door and in two separate places on the left side of the washing machine; it was identified as belonging to Darlie. No other blood was discovered past that point. The utility room floor, the garage floor, the window sill, the screen, the patio, and the back yard gate showed no blood drops; no fingerprints, and no bloody footprints.
The gate in the back yard had hinge problems. Darin had attempted to temporarily repair the hinges with wire. It was quite difficult to open or close because it dragged the ground. It was found closed and in place when police investigators inspected it.
Kathy Cruz, author of the book, Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case that Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death, (A book that contends Darlie is innocent) stated: "That sock is the most important piece of evidence in this entire case," It is important, but not the most important. Actually, it was probably more valuable evidence to the prosecution than it was to the defense. A white sock, presumed to have belonged to Darin was found 75 yards away down an alley next to a garbage can. It was on the ground and laid out flat in a conspicuous manner, almost as if the person that placed it there wanted it to be found. It had blood belonging to Damon and Devon on it, and the inside of the sock had skin cells belonging to Darlie. It also had a hair on it identified as belonging to a deer. The prosecution contended that it was most likely used as a glove to conceal Darlie's fingerprints on the knife as she stabbed the boys. The Darlie supporters maintain that the sock proves Darlie didn't do it because she wouldn't have had time to run it down there and get back to make the 911 call in this so called "time frame." They claim she didn't have the time to put the sock there.
The distance to where the sock was located from the Routier house is 75 yards, that's 450 feet round trip and can be completed walking a fast pace (Not running) in 5 minutes or less. It was 3 houses away. I, the author, did it myself and I walked the distance and timed it. It took me 4 minutes and 51 seconds; and I'm by no means a world class athlete.
This "time frame" as it's called, didn't begin until the moment Darlie dialed 911. She had all the time in the world prior to dialing 911 to stage the scene at the house, stab the boys, and walk the sock down the alley in an attempt to confuse police and draw attention away from herself. This would explain why none of her blood was on the sock and none of her blood was found anywhere along the route to where the sock was found. She could have returned from dropping the sock, stood at the sink and cut herself at which time she realizes that Damon is still alive. (He had scooted himself from the couch to the wall) She stabs Damon a second time depositing her own blood next to him as was discovered, places the knife on the kitchen island, then screams for Darin and calls 911.
The investigators and prosecution considered at one point the possibility that Darin may have ran the sock down to where it was found to make it look like it had been discarded by the intruder as he was running away. (Hence none of Darlie's blood found) This author has not ruled out the strong possibility that after Darin woke up to Darlie's screams and saw what Darlie had done, he decided to help stage the scene (including running the sock down the ally) to keep Darlie from being arrested and charged.
THE TWO KNIVES
There were two knives used in this crime, one used to cut the screen, the other used as a murder weapon. Both of these knives belonged to the Routier's and were kept in a knife block located in the kitchen on a counter top. The defense maintained that the mystery intruder cut the screen in the garage window, and came into the house; even though the screen frame itself was loose and could have easily just been removed. The only problem is that a serrated edged bread knife found in the knife holder on the counter in the Routier kitchen was discovered under analysis to have fiberglass rod fibers and adhesive dust on the blade matching the fibers that comprise the screen. This would mean the intruder mysteriously entered the house, got a knife to cut the screen, went back outside, cut the screen and came in through the window???? He was also courteous enough to put the knife back in the block when he came in.
The Darlie Routier defense team and Kathy Cruz, author of Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case that Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death. have stated that the fibers on the knife could have come from the evidence technician's fingerprint brush, This was proven not be true though microscopic and chemical analysis. The screen fibers were larger than the fingerprint brush fibers and the screen fibers on the knife contained black rubber and asbestos. The fingerprint brush fibers did not contain any asbestos. Darlie Kee, Darlie's mother has stated in later years that the serrated knife couldn't have possibly cut the screen due to its rounded tip. However, that knife successfully cutting a screen was replicated in the crime lab. The knife used to stab the boys was also a knife from the Routier kitchen knife holder.
Darlie mentioned twice to police 911 dispatcher Doris Trammell, twice to officer Wadell and Detective Patterson, and four times to the hospital staff that she wished she hadn't picked the knife up off the floor that she claimed the intruder dropped as she chased him out of the house. It was as if she were trying to establish an alibi as to why her prints and blood would be found on it. Police dispatcher Trammell stated that she thought it was odd that someone who's children had just been murdered would make an obvious point of mentioning how their finger prints got on the murder weapon during the initial 911 call for help.
In one of Darlie's versions of the intruder leaving the house, she claimed that as she was chasing the intruder out of the house, she saw him drop the knife on the floor of the utility room. Forensic testing was conducted on this knife to replicate what Darlie had claimed. The knife was dipped in animal blood and dropped on the utility room floor in the house from waist level while walking, and then again while running exactly as Darlie described the intruder had done. Each time it was reconstructed, a certain amount of blood spatter shot off to the sides of the blade when dropped. No spatter marks or knife imprints were found anywhere on the floor of the utility room. As mentioned previously, a knife imprint was discovered near Devon's body but from the blood marks around it and lack of spatter marks, it appeared to have been laid there rather than dropped there. When police arrived, Darlie showed them where she had placed it on the counter top.
Doug Mulder, Darlie's lead defense attorney was well aware that he was going to have trouble explaining away the knife evidence. After Darlie was sentenced Mulder later stated in an interview, "I always worried about the knife, my biggest problem was that knife."
This is the one piece of physical evidence that convicted her if nothing else did. Along with Darlie's own blood on her nightshirt, analysis revealed what's referred to as "cast off" blood droplets. Meaning the droplets of blood were cast off an object in motion such a knife in a stabbing motion. This action was also successfully duplicated in the lab with a blood spatter expert wearing a white t-shirt using the actual evidence knife and mimicking a stabbing motion with blood on the blade.
Several cast-off stains of Devon’s blood were found on the front and right shoulder of Darlie’s nightshirt. (Remember, she was right handed) In addition, several cast-off stains of Damon’s blood were found on the back of Darlie’s nightshirt, as would be expected if the knife were swung up to the level of her head in a stabbing motion.
Darlie Supporters just love to say that the blood droplets on the nightshirt aren't proof of anything because the shirt was stuffed in a paper bag (which it wasn't) with other items of clothing. These self proclaimed bloodstain "experts" go on to say that being wet any blood on the nightshirt could simply be transfer stain or blood that soaked from part of the shirt to another. Five specific stains on Darlie’s nightshirt were proven not to be from soaking through or transfer. Her shirt was cut off by paramedic's en-route to the hospital and laid flat. Two separate stains, labeled by forensics examiners as TB2 and TB3 were found on the upper right front shoulder of the nightshirt and suggestive of cast off. TB3 was a mixture of Devon and Darlie's blood, and TB2 was a mixture of Damon and Darlie's blood. The striking feature of these two particular stains is that they weren't simple drops. The extended length of the blood stains indicated motion of the blood from downward to upward.
Two additional stains were discovered on the left shoulder of the nightshirt shirt labeled LS1 and LS3. LS1 was a mixture of Damon and Darlie's blood, LS3 was a mixture of Devon and Darlie's blood. These stains too were suggestive of cast-off. LS1 had a downward trajectory. LS3 had a an upward trajectory.
On the back right shoulder of the night shirt was a sole drop labeled TB8. This blood was identified as belonging to Devon. TB8's stain has a long axis and shows an up and down trajectory. This was very strong evidence suggestive of Darlie raising the knife up after completing a stab, depositing Devon’s blood on the back of her nightshirt, then bringing her arm down to stab again. Of all the stains on Darlie's night shirt, TB8 was crucial evidence that played a major role in incriminating her.
THE ARREST, THE INDICTMENT, AND THE TRIAL
On June 18, 1996, Rowlett Police detectives asked Darlie to come once again to the police station for addition questions. Later that night she was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder. She was immediately placed in custody at the Lew Starrett Justice Center to await indictment.
That evening Sgt. Dean Poos, Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Rowlett Police Department issued (shown here in part) the following press release:
On the morning of Thursday, June 6th, 1996, an investigation began into the murders of Damon and Devon Routier. A significant event has now occurred in this very intensive investigation, At approximately 10:20p.m. this evening, investigators from the Rowlett Police Department arrested Darlie Routier (white female, age 26). Mrs. Routier has been charged with two counts of Capital Murder stemming from the stabbing deaths of her sons Damon (age 5) and Devon (age 6) This arrest is the result of the most intensive and exhaustive investigation ever conducted by the Rowlett Police Department.
Darlie Routier was booked at the Rowlett City Jail and arraigned by Municipal Court Judge Owen Lokken. Judge Lokken ordered Mrs. Routier held without bond. Mrs. Routier was then transferred to the Lew Sterrett Justice Center. I cannot comment on the details of this investigation other than to say we believe that the white male suspect described by Darlie Routier as the man that attacked her and murdered her children never existed. We also believe that the wounds present on Darlie Routier were self-inflicted. As for the father, Darin Routier, at this point we do not believe that he was involved in, or participated in the murders.
On June 28, Darlie Routier was officially indicted by a Dallas County grand jury on two counts of capital murder. Judge Mark Tolle, who presided at her trial issued a gag order barring the defense, the prosecution, potential witnesses, and Darlie's immediate family from discussing the case with the media. Which Darlie, Darin, and her mother Darlie Kee, all violated. She was ordered held on a 1 million dollar bail.
About 3 weeks later after forensic test results on the evidence came back, the District Attorney's Office announced they would be seeking the death penalty and Judge Tolle rescinded Darlie's bail considering her a flight risk.
Darlie Routier's written statement to Rowlett Police 6-8-1996
The two month long jury selection began on October 16, 1996 in Kerrville, Texas after a change of venue request was granted by Judge Tolle. 165 potential jurors were interviewed by the defense and prosecution. On November 14, the court announced jury selection was complete and it would consist of seven women and five men. Judge Tolle announced that the trial would begin Monday morning at 9:00 AM on January 6, 1997.
The first witness called for the state, Dr. Joanie McLaine from the medical examiner’s office, testified that the defense wounds on Devon’s body indicated that he had struggled with his attacker and the wounds were savage in nature. The first wound penetrated the left chest, the left lung the left pulmonary artery and the pulmonary valve. The second stab penetrated the left center of the chest in a downward motion and entered the liver. The 3rd and 4th and fourth stabs affected the shoulder and leg. She reported other incised lacerations on the body as well.
Dr. Janice Townsend-Parchman testified that Darlie Routier's superficial neck wound appeared to be self-inflicted in a slow, hesitant manner. The deep, multiple wounds on the boys, however, showed the attack on them was quick and deliberate and was definitely personal.
The final witness for the prosecution, Special Agent Al Brantley from the FBI, testified in his conclusion that he found nothing to indicate the presence of an intruder, the entire scene had been staged, the victims knew their attacker, and the attack had occurred in an extreme fit of rage.
In the nearly 1 month long trial, 36 witness testified for the prosecution including police officers, paramedic's, nurses, physician's, forensics experts, criminal investigators, neighbors, friends and a local merchant familiar with Darlie Routier. 16 various witnesses testified for the defense including Darlie herself. 15 other friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances testified regarding Darlie's character prior to the sentencing phase and attorney summations.
Upon the jury retiring for deliberation on February 1, 1997, 8 of the 12 jurors were immediately prepared to vote guilty, while the other 4 jurors weren't quite convinced. A few hours later (the same day) after re-examining some evidence, all 12 jurors found Darlie Routier guilty of capital murder (1st degree) of her son Damon Routier. (she was only tried for his murder)
Darlie must have sensed her guilty verdict. She began crying the moment the jurors entered the courtroom to render their verdict.. She was told to stand but only looked up at the ceiling and wiped her cheeks with her hands as District Court Judge Mark Tolle read the guilty verdict. Her husband, Darin, leaned forward in his gallery seat and began crying as Darlie's mother, Darlie Kee, sat stone-faced. Darlie's younger sister Danelle suddenly shouted out, "They're all lying," Greg Davis (the lead prosecutor) is the killer." Judge Tolle banged his gavel down in rapid succession and shouted "Order".
At the sentencing phase of the trial Darlie Routier was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
THE "DARLIE SUPPORTERS"
No one wants to believe a mother could murder her children. Especially a pretty young mother who on the outside gave the appearance of being an attentive mom who wanted nothing but the best for her children. The jurors that were interviewed after the verdict said they went into deliberation wanting to find something to show her innocence, they just couldn't find it.
Darlie Routier denies her guilt. When interviewed, she knows exactly how and when to cry and turn on the heart tugging emotions and people eat this up. They watch these interviews and say, "There's no way she did this." These very same people turn a blind eye to the very evidence that convicted her, or simply say the crime scene processing was tainted and botched up. As mentioned previously in this article, anytime a trial verdict doesn't go the way someone wanted it to, they automatically say the system failed.
Darlie has a unique ability of mesmerizing people into believing her innocence. Every journalist that was granted an interview with Darlie in prison went in either believing she was guilty or they were undecided. Darlie will turn on the charm and the tears and use her "I'm the true victim here" little girl voice, convincing nearly each person that met with her that there was no way she could have murdered her sons.
This author has always found it interesting that now she's been convicted and placed on death row, her interviews always consist of how she didn't kill her kids and how much she misses them. In almost every interview she's given she says: "All I want are people to see I'm innocent." Why isn't she saying "Hey people! There's a child killer out there on the loose, why aren't you out looking for him? I want justice for my two boys." But she never mentions that anymore like she did 22 years ago in her letters to friends and family while she was incarcerated during the trial.
The people who believe Darlie Routier was wrongfully found guilty, aka: "The Darlie Supporters." try their best to fit the evidence to their preconceived conclusion of innocence. If it doesn't fit, they'll make it fit; even to the level of absurdity. If you look at all the various websites that include reader comments sections, you'll find that approximately 90% of the Darlie supporters are female. It appears that women have more trouble accepting the fact that a mother could possibly do such a horrendous thing to her children then men do. If Darlie Routier had been a man instead of a woman, this case would have simply faded into obscurity and no one would have challenged the jury's decision. Ironically in the state of Texas, 83% of past fillicide cases (parents who murder their children) were committed by the mother. In Texas alone in the past 22 years, a total of 26 mothers have murdered 52 children. (2 already this year, as of Jan 2018)
Source: FBI Stats Data, Dallas News, USA Today, Plano Star Courier, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News
Darlie supporters fall into two distinct categories. One group has second thoughts about the trial and the evidence and in conversation will express their opinion of doubt and provide specific reasons as to why they feel that way. And that's completely fine. It's their right to have an opinion and they should be allowed the time and respect to be heard.
Then the other group with fewer members, consists of the fanatical supporters. The one's that live and breathe this 22 year old case night and day. They're angry and hateful and they're vicious with anyone that opposes their opinions; similar to a 1970's era militant group. This author's name is used in effigy as many times as the clock tick's among this group. This author has been cyber-stalked, insulted, accused of being Darin Routier himself, publicly cussed at and even more recently, threatened with physical harm similar to what happened to author Barbara Davis, until she changed her mind about Darlie's guilt.
A few members of this group can be found right here on the Darlie Routier support HubPages blogs as commenters and one as an author. Most of the HubPage authors themselves, are more controlled. One such author and this author have discussed the case on her HubPage on several occasions and we both politely agreed to disagree.
Most members of this second group get the most hateful when challenged to provide a credible source to backup a statement they've made that they're trying to pass as fact. When they can't do it, they show their a*ses with the cussing and the insults and general cyber-bullying. They go on other support sites and slander your name, make wild accusations about you, and basically set themselves up to be the receiver of a serious libel suit, which this author has been seriously considering with one particular individual. Fortunately few in numbers, people in this group display a total lack of self-control, get extremely angry when not agreed with, and most likely possess the potential for violence.
Facebook has a group calling themselves "The Extreme Darlie Support Group." Interestingly, if you look at this group's members, many of them are also members of the "Jodi Arias Support Group." That kind of speaks for itself.
Darlie supporters love to direct people to an old CBS 20/20 special taped 18 years ago in 1999, hosted by moderator Sylvia Chase. They feature juror Charlie Samford stating he was incorrect in his guilty verdict; however he has since recanted that opinion. (Discussed later in this blog) And, Sylvia Chase states the defense was never given the entire silly string video including the memorial service conducted before the spraying of the silly string. Her statement is totally untrue. Darlie's lead defense attorney, Doug Mulder, has even stated that they did receive the entire video, and for reasons unknown decided not to present it to the jury or object to the memorial service segment not being shown to the jury by the prosecution.
"If the theory doesn't match the facts, change the facts"
- Albert Einstein
(A satirical remark he made on how some people support theory)
Darlie Supporters claim that the police and the prosecution both intimidated and coerced witnesses, that the crime scene forensic procedures and evidence was mishandled, investigators destroyed and even covered up evidence of the mysterious intruder, they coerced the hospital staff into changing their testimony, they even say the crime scene photos presented in court were manipulated. (Did they have Photoshop back then?) They say the judge slept through the trial, that certain defense witnesses weren't allowed to testify, and the transcript errors were responsible for determining the outcome. They even blame the judiciary laws of the State of Texas. All of this can be found on fordarlieroutier.org and darliefacts.com.
Most of the Darlie Supporters have trouble convincing themselves or anyone else that an intruder actually entered the house; they cannot support that argument with absolutely no evidence found to suggest that anyone came in the house or exited the house. Their only argument left would have to be that either the District Attorney's office and the police intentionally framed Darlie, or Darlie's husband Darin, who was the only other adult already in the house must have done it.
Murderer Theories Ranging from Darin Routier to a Rowlett Police Officer
In recent years some of the Darlie supporters have in fact convinced themselves that Darin Routier murdered his sons. They point out that he lied in his written statements and that he lied in his court testimony; which in several instances it appears that he did. Obviously not very familiar with the case, many of Darlie's supporters raise question as to why the police and the prosecution didn't investigate him from the beginning. Darin Routier was thoroughly investigated from the git-go. As mentioned previously in this blog, prosecutor Greg Davis stated that Darin was in fact their initial prime suspect. However, despite Darin's statements not making a lot of sense and the possibility of him having a motive by collecting on a $250,000 life insurance policy, the forensic evidence at the scene simply did not link him to the actual murders, it linked Darlie to the murders. The supporters conclude that some sort of deal was made between Darin and Darlie's mother, Darlie Kee, with defense attorney Doug Mulder who in turn promised not to go after Darin. They're suggesting that the prosecution turned a blind eye to Darin and having to convict someone they just decided to hang the murders on Darlie.
In other words, what the Darlie supporters are suggesting is that this was a well orchestrated, well coordinated conspiracy that included local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, hospital employees, attorney's, paramedic's, neighbor's and co-workers all working together hand in hand to set up Darlie Routier. And, they never offer any reasons as to why all of these different people would want to do that and perjure themselves. What was the motive behind 50 some individuals all getting together and lying and framing an innocent woman? Who masterminded such a plot? Were all these people paid to do this? Were they coerced and threatened to lie in court?
We're not talking about the JFK assassination here, Darlie Routier wasn't a high ranking government official, there weren't any powerful organizations behind this that had the ability to pull off such an act, there is no "magic bullet theory" that can be applied here. When considering the ludicrous absurdity of such a plot having taken place, it comes back around full circle to the basic facts of the case that convicted Darlie Routier; her account of what occurred the night of the murders did not match what was found at the crime scene, and the evidence that was found at the crime scene put the murder weapon in her hands.
Another supporter with his own website (The Gospel of Timothy) and YouTube video claims the boys were killed by a Rowlett police officer because he considered Damon and Devon to be demonic names.
WHAT DOES DARLIE'S CURRENT ATTORNEY THINK ABOUT DARLIE SUPPORTERS?
In an interview with Darlie's current attorney, Stephen Cooper, he was asked what he thought about the Darlie supporters that contact his office with supposed "new theories." He explained that it does nothing but interfere time wise with his appeals work on Darlie's case. Especially when the supporters contact Darlie Routier's family members with some bizarre new theory or supposed "new evidence." He said, "Lawyers, the professionals, don't go to their clients and say they have the key to the jail unless they can deliver it." He further said, "Every time someone contacts Darlie's family claiming they have the evidence that will free her, I have to stop what I'm doing, listen to them, and calm them down."
THE "DARLIE WAS DRUGGED" THEORY
Some Darlie supporters claim that Darin (or someone else) drugged Darlie the night of the murders. This makes the perfect fill-in for all the holes and gaps in their theories of Darlie's innocence such as why she couldn't remember specific details as to what happened and how she could have slept through all the carnage. Most of these drug theory believers suggest it was a "date rape" drug. *The most commonly abused date rape drugs, or "club drugs," are Rohypnol, also called "roofies"; gamma hydroxybutyric acid, also called "liquid ecstasy"; ketamine, also called "Special K," and tablet form ecstasy, also called "Molly," which is often crushed and mixed into a drink.
*Though these different drugs can cause memory lapses, most of them have amphetamine properties and will cause a lot of difficulty sleeping. Darlie claims she slept through everything. *Each of these drugs cause bad "hang-over" signs and symptoms which Dariie never complained to anyone that she had. The problem with the theory of Darlie being drugged is that a toxicology screen was conducted on her prior to the exploratory surgery on her neck in the hospital. Mild to moderate amounts of amphetamines were found in her system and Dr. Santos testified that this could have been the result of her taking diet pills. *Date rape drug residuals stay in the system anywhere from 8 to 72 hours and would have shown up on her toxicology screen. * Source: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, WebMD
Despite what many Darlie supporters say and believe, she was not convicted by the silly string video. While deliberating, the jury requested to see the video again and a couple of the juror's later stated that they watched it 6 or 7 times. Darlie and her mother claim they watched it 9 times. (They must have both been in the deliberation room with the jurors) The silly string video certainly didn't win her any points with the jury, but what convicted her was the preponderance of blood evidence that pointed to nobody but her. There was blood all over the carpet around the boys and all over the kitchen floor. Subsequently, only her bloody footprints were discovered, no other footprints were found, anywhere. The blood evidence, her inconsistent and illogical accounts of what took place, and the letters that she wrote to friends and family are what sealed her fate. Every juror that was able to be interviewed after the trial confirmed that. They were convinced that she was lying.
What the Darlie supporters, including Darlie Kee cannot explain, is why Darlie constantly changed her accounts of what took place. And not simple changes, major changes; Darlie supporters say it's because she was on pain killers and anti-depressants after the murders and it affected her recall of the events. Psychologist Dr. Lisa Clayton, handsomely paid by the defense for her testimony, testified Routier exhibited the typical blackouts and distorted memory of people who experience a profound trauma and are forced to give clear descriptions of it soon after the event.
Yet in jailhouse letters to friends and private conversations to friends and family before she was arrested, (even with the hospital staff) she appeared to have perfect detailed recollections of what took place, and never mentioned she couldn't remember anything. Rowlett police office Wadell (first officer to arrive on the scene) testified that when he first asked Darlie what had happened, she was upset but appeared to be perfectly alert and gave him a clear account of what had occurred. She never mentioned to him that there was anything she couldn't remember. She definitely remembered to give everyone a reason as to why her finger prints were on the murder weapon.
As previously mentioned, most people who think Darlie is innocent claim the errors in the transcripts give her the right to a retrial.The errors were corrected by another official court reporter using audio tapes of the trial, the trial court approved the accuracy of the corrections, and the appellate court denied her motion for retrial and/or acquittal. Supporters like to say she was convicted on circumstantial evidence. The majority of murder convictions are based on circumstantial evidence. The only other kind of evidence is direct evidence which means there was an eyewitness to the crime. Most multiple murders do not have eye witnesses.
The supporters claim that if Darlie's under arm bruise photos had been shown to the jury it would have made a difference during deliberations. As already established, those photos were in fact shown in court and to the jury, and discussed in detail with Dr. Santos for about 45 minutes on the witness stand.
The Darlie supports say that if the entire "Silly String Tape" had been shown in court, including the private memorial service that took place prior to the celebration, it would have made a difference. Darlie Routier's defense team had a copy of the entire tape made at the cemetery in their possession. For whatever reason, they did not object to or even mention the private memorial service not shown in court.
Darlie supporters claim that the crime scene was contaminated due to the large number of police, firefighters, paramedics, crime scene technicians, etc. "Coming and going through the house." Darlie testified on the witness stand that beside the paramedics, there were up to six firefighters in the house. By the paramedic's request, a Rowlett fire department engine company was dispatched to the house to assist with CPR on Damon, however, they never entered the house. There were two, two person paramedic team ambulances from the fire department on scene tending to the boys and Darlie, two medics inside, two medics outside. These two medic's tending to Darlie were outside the front door and never entered the house. As far as excessive traffic in and around the actual crime scene, Lt Jack was adamant about preserving the crime scene and keeping it secure. Police officers Wade and Ferrie testified in court that were posted at the front door and were ordered not to let anyone in the house during the investigation. Officer Wade testified that he wouldn't even let the Rowlett Chief of Police (Randall Posey) in the house during the initial investigation.
Prosecution: Okay, Officer Wade, you actually told your Chief he couldn't come in?
Officer Wade: That is correct.
Prosecution: Okay. And he didn't go in?
Officer Wade: No, sir, he did not.
Prosecution: Okay. Was that the only person that tried to get in?
Officer Wade: Yes, sir
Supporters say a motive was never properly established and Darlie Routier was a loving mother that would never do this to her children. (based on watching home movies of Darlie on YouTube) Though not required for a conviction, an established motive can certainly be the decision maker. The prosecution did try to paint a picture of Darlie as a vain person that cared a lot about her appearance. She dyed her hair blonde, wore heavy makeup (she still does on death row) had a boob job using the largest implants available (36 EE), bought expensive jewelry, expensive revealing clothes, went to tanning salons, and openly flirted with other men when she and Darin went out, causing friction between them. They stated that she was a very materialistic person and was quite comfortable living in the upper middle class world and spending money.
BRIEFLY LIVING THE GOOD LIFE AND DARLIE'S DEPRESSION
Darin had developed and created his own business called Testnec. It made and tested printed computer circuit boards and the business flourished in its early years. Originally running the company from his house, Darin's business soon took off and was even able to secure high paying contracts with Lockheed and NASA. The Routier's bought a large $130,000 2-story home of neo-Georgian design near Lake Ray Hubbard in upscale Rowlett, Texas, (a suburb of Dallas) and filled it with brand new furniture. They bought an SUV, bought a Jaguar, bought a 30 foot cabin cruiser, installed a large somewhat gaudy fountain complete with running water and lights in their front yard, and had a $9,000 redwood spa built in the backyard. The spa had a hot tub, a TV, a bar, and a stereo system in it.
As time went by, the business began to level out and after a couple of years began decreasing as technology improved and Darin's contracted work wasn't required as much by the big electronics companies as it once was. However, the Routier's continued to spend money as the bills were beginning to pile up. Darlie had gained weight after the birth of her third child, Drake, and was having bouts of depression. She was even taking depression meds prescribed by her physician.
Darin continually told investigators that his business was secure financially. He said that money wasn't a problem with the family, and even if they were in trouble a poor financial situation would not have been a motive for Darlie to kill the children. When investigators went to Darin's place of business with a search warrant, the building and offices were unoccupied and it appeared it had been closed for some time. The Routier's owed $10,000 in back taxes, had a $12,000 credit card bill and he was struggling to make their hefty $1,300 a month house payments. The cabin cruiser had broken down, as did the Jaguar and they couldn't afford to have them repaired. They were a month behind on the house payment and were at risk of losing their home with less than $2,000 in their accounts. Shortly before the murders, Darin was turned down on a $5,000 personal loan for a family vacation, he later told investigators that the loan was to buy a pickup truck for Darlie's sister. When Darlie was formally charged with murder, Darin let the house get foreclosed on and Darlie had to get a public defender.
Darlie had contemplated suicide a month before the murders and had written about it in her diary. She told a close friend about it who testified to this in court. Some of Darlie's friends and acquaintances stated that she appeared to act differently and wasn't her usual self. They said she spoke of being tired of the repetitive arguments with Darin over money. She had been planning a trip with her girlfriends to Cancun, Mexico, later that summer. Although portrayed as a loving doting mother in home videos, some neighbors and acquaintances stated that they noticed that Darlie had begun to not pay very close attention to the children when they were outside and often seemed aggravated when they were around.
WAS DARLIE A GOOD MOTHER?
Darlie appeared to be a good mother. When looking at photos and video, the children are smiling and seem to be having a good time. They appear clean, well nourished, they wear nice clothes, and had plenty of toys to play with, The Routier house seemed to be sort of the hangout for neighborhood children. Some of the local children even compared the house to a popular video game.
As far as Darlie's attentiveness to the children; during the post-conviction / pre-sentencing phase of the trial, an 18 year old girl from the neighborhood named Allison Hennessey testified. Allison had become friends with Darlie when she was 16. She had met Darlie through one her friends named Renee Stanley. Renee, also 16 at the time, was the regular babysitter that Darlie frequently called. Allison testified that on numerous occasions when she would visit her friend Renee at the Routier home with Darlie there, Darlie would purchase cigarettes for Allison, allowed her to drink Zima coolers, which were drinks containing alcohol, and even allowed her to smoke marijuana in the house. Allison testified that Darlie kept a supply of marijuana in a zip-lock bag in a cabinet above the washer and dryer in the utility room. When asked what Damon and Devon would be doing when this occurred, Allison stated either playing in the water fountain in the front yard, or running up and down the street.
Some say Darlie was known to have a short fuse with her children. Eileen Shirmer, a neighbor of Darlie's that took her child to Devon’s fifth birthday party, testified in court that Darlie became enraged over getting water on her from the kids playing with their squirt guns. She took a piece of cake in her hand and smashed and smeared it in Devon’s face. When he started crying she told him he deserved it. According to Barbara Davis' book, Precious Angels, family member Jackie Rogers stated that the way Darlie ordered Devon around and "beat him down" she considered it emotional abuse.
Opinions on Darlie among her neighbors vary. Some have said she was a kind, loving, attentive mother, and some neighbors told the local press when interviewed that it was commonplace to hear Darlie scream at Devon and Damon to "Get your asses out of the house," and around 9:00 pm she would go out in the yard and scream "Devon, Damon, get your asses in the house." Several neighbors told local press that Damon and Devon always ran up and down the street unsupervised and hearing Darlie use the "F" word outside around the kids was about an everyday occurrence.
Three days after the boys funeral, when the crime scene at the house had been cleared, Darlie needed to get some clothes and a few personal items from the house. She called a friend, Mercedes Adams, and asked her if she would drive her over there. Mercedes agreed with reservation fearing that Darlie would fall apart walking into the very place her two sons were brutally murdered. Mercedes stated that Darlie just walked right in the door like she had left there that morning and shouted, "Look at this f**king mess! It'll cost us a fortune to fix this shit!"
Mercedes commented; "Right there where her boys were killed, and that's the first thing she said to me. I put my hands on Darlie's shoulders and said, 'Darlie, look me in the eye and tell me you didn't kill the boys.' She looked me in the eye and said, 'I'm gonna get new carpet, new drapes, and fix this room all up."
Moments before the funeral service for the boys began, Darlie approached her two sons in their caskets. Detective David Frosch testified that he overheard Darlie whisper "I'm so sorry" in each individual casket. Several people commented that Darlie never shed a tear during the funeral.
Darlie's occasional housekeeper, Helina Czaban, stated that when she told Darlie how sorry she was for the tragedy and mentioned the expense of the funeral on top of that, Darlie replied, "I'm not worried. I'll get five-thousand dollars each for both of the boys."
A friend of the family said that after the boy's funeral the immediate family and close friends all gathered at Darlie Kee's house. It was there that Darlie announced to everyone that she and Darin already had plans in place to take a trip to Europe together, get some plastic surgery done to remove the scar from her neck, and hopefully conceive another child while on the trip, preferably a daughter. This said less than a week after the brutal murders. A relative in attendance commented, "....It was like well, I lost two children but I'll be replacing them soon." Out with the old, in with the new.
A relative that was with Darlie from her initial hospital stay though the funeral stated that the hardest she ever saw Darlie cry was the day she was arrested.
In an attempt to show Darlie's character, Greg Davis subpoenaed Kay Norris, an employee from a local pawn that Darlie frequented to purchase jewelry. Norris testified that Darlie was a rude customer that came in every week, constantly cursed her children, and demanded that Darin buy her some jewelry. She also commented that the way Darlie was dressed when she came in left little to the imagination. In attempts to show Darlie's spending habits, the prosecution also made mention that Darlie's friends had jokingly nick-named her "Shop till you drop Darlie."
DARLIE'S SELDOM MENTIONED POLYGRAPH EXAMINATION
After formal murder charges had been made and prior to Darlie's trial, her original court appointed attorneys, Doug Parks and Wayne Huff, obtained a sealed motion for a private polygraph examination of Darlie shortly before jury selection began. Though not admissible in court, the judge ordered the Dallas County jail to allow the polygraph test without the knowledge of the district attorney’s office. Darlie Routier's mother, Darlie Kee, was visiting Darlie in jail the day of the examination. At the conclusion of the polygraph, and being under the auspices of attorney/client privilege and work product ethics, Parks would only say the examination was "inconclusive," but he didn't say she passed it either. The jailer assigned to escort Darlie back to her cell later stated that he observed both Darlie and her mother sobbing at the conclusion of the testing. Darlie Kee has emphatically denied that this examination took place although official court and jail records show that at 2:30 PM Friday October 4th, 1996, Routier was moved from her cell in the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, through the basement sally port, into a room at the Crowley Courts Building. It was in there that she was given a polygraph exam which lasted six hours, and the Routier defense was billed $1,000 for the exam and consultation fees. With Darlie Kee denying the polygraph took place, and attorney Doug Parks's not saying she passed the examination, (If she had he would have shouted it from the rooftops) the reader can make their own conclusion as to whether she passed it or not. Darlie even admitted to taking this polygraph later in a 2001 prison interview. Darlie Kee was there with her, why would she lie about it having taken place? Just a wild guess might be because Darlie failed it.
THE WET TOWEL CONTROVERSY
Darlie told Detective Frosh that prior to police arrival, she carried towels to Damon and to Devon to help stop the bleeding. She also wrote this In her written statement to police on June 8th. (2 days after the murders) Darlie claimed that she put a towel on Damon’s back. Darlie supporters are quick to say this is how Damon and Devon's blood got on her nightshirt. She also testified to this while on the witness stand during the trial.
She first mentioned this in court while testifying and being questioned by her attorney, Doug Mulder.
Darlie Routier: I got the towels, and I was calling 911 as I got the towels.
Doug Mulder: After you got the towels wet, did you take those to Darin?
Darlie Routier: I got a couple of towels wet and I went to Damon first…I put a towel on my baby’s back.
During cross examination by the prosecution, Asst. DA Greg Davis focused on the towels once again.
Greg Davis: Okay. So you got the towels?
Darlie Routier: I was calling 911 as I got the towels. I got the towels and I went to the sink and I got the towels wet
Greg Davis: All right. And after you got the 3 towels wet, did you take those to Darin?
Darlie Routier: I got a couple of towels wet, I went to Damon first.
Greg Davis: Okay.
Darlie Routier: I put a towel on Damon's back. There's been a lot of controversy that I didn't do that, but I did do that. I put a towel on my baby's back.
Darin Routier, Darlie's husband was called to testify and also asked about the towels that Darlie stated she placed on Damon's back.
Greg Davis: This towel that you say was on the back of Damon, was it still on his back when the police officers came in?
Darin Routier: I believe it was.
Greg Davis: You didn’t remove it, did you?
Darin Routier: No.
When Greg Davis was questioning David Waddell, the first police officer to arrive on the scene. Davis asked Waddell what Darlie was doing when he arrived. He stated that she was standing in the kitchen area talking on the phone (to the 911 operator still) and holding a towel to her neck. Darin was attempting CPR on Devon but Darlie didn't go near Damon who was still barely alive at this time.
Greg Davis: Was there anything on Damon’s back, such as a towel, a rag, anything besides the clothes he was wearing?
Officer Waddell: No. I told the defendant to get some towels and put them on the child’s back to try to stop his bleeding.
As mentioned earlier, when Darlie told Waddell that the intruder might still be in the garage he walked out of site of Darlie into the utility room and toward the garage but decided the smart thing to do would be to wait for backup before checking the dark garage by himself, so he walked back into the kitchen. He explained this action and his rational to Greg Davis.
Greg Davis: Where is the defendant when you come back to the kitchen area?
Officer Waddell: In the same position.
Prosecutor Davis: She’s not over here with Damon?
Officer Waddell: No. I told her (Darlie) a second time to get towels and put them on Damon’s back.
Greg Davis: And what did she do?
Officer Waddell:. Nothing. She kept telling me that when she chased the suspect across the kitchen, that he’d dropped the knife and she’d picked up the knife and brought it back and set it on the counter. And she told me she thought she’d messed up the fingerprints.
After Officer Matt Walling arrived on the scene (Waddell;s backup) the two officers searched the house. After not finding anyone they returned to the kitchen area. Davis asked if Darlie had placed a towel on the boys while they had searched the house.
Greg Davis: Did you look over to see if a rag or towel or anything had been placed on Damon’s back?
Officer Waddell Yes sir. There was none.
Paramedic Jack Kolbye, the paramedic that tended to Damon in the house was called to testify. He too was asked about these towels.
Greg Davis: Where was Darlie when you came into the room?
Paramedic Kolbye: She was standing next to Officer Waddell on the family room side of the bar, holding a towel to her neck.
Greg Davis: Was there a rag or towel or anything else on top of Damon?
Paramedic Kolbye: No, there was not.
Greg Davis: Are you sure about that?
Paramedic Kolbye: I’m absolutely sure about that.
A total of 21 towels and washcloths were found in the home. At the crime scene investigators collected 3 damp towels from the utility room, 2 towels from the basket in the utility room, 4 washcloths from the top of the stairs, 3 towels from the backyard spa. None of these were connected to the murders. Two hand towels were found and photographed in the hallway, but both only had Darlie's blood on them where she had been lolding them to her neck. Most of towels were scattered around a good distance from the boys. Neither Devon nor Damon's blood was found on any of the towels. One towel and one washcloth were discovered to have blood on them which were both identified as belonging to Darlie. A green and white washcloth in the kitchen area is the one Officer Waddell observed Darlie holding to her neck when he first entered the house. Darlie had obviously lied about placing a towel on Damon. It also appears that from the time Officer Waddell arrived on the scene to the time Darlie was transported to the hospital, that she never attempted to render any kind of care to her dying son, Damon. The transcripts also suggest that Darin Routier lied as well during his own testimony about the towels.
Darlie, who testified before Darin, stated that she did take a towel over to Devon. She first stated that she laid the towel on one of Devon's chest wounds, then while still testifying she changed it to laying the towel next to Devon.
Darin never mentioned a word about towels or Darlie bringing him towels in his written police statement, but he testified in court that she brought him 3 or 4 towels. Again, none of the towels recovered from the crime scene had Damon or Devon's blood on them; only Darlie's. Paramedic Jack Kolby testified that there was absolutely no towel(s) on or near Damon, and Paramedic testified that he didn't recall seeing any towels on or around Devon. Some supporters have gone as far as to say both paramedic's we're lying.
What appears to be a towel in the photo above was used as evidence by the defense to show that Darlie did run wet towels to Darin to assist in first aid to Devon. The problem however, it that the towel was dry, not wet as Darlie testified and the blood tested on it was not Devon's, it was her's. As obvious as that towel is next to Devon's body, how could paramedic Brian Koschak not have seen it when he checked on Devon? That suggests that the towel either got dropped accidentally by investigators (which is highly unlikely) or it got placed there by someone (possibly Darin?) sometime after Koschak checked Devon and the time the police forensic team photographed the crime scene.
Darlie never mentioned anything about applying wet towels to anyone in her June 6, 1996 formal written statement to police. As Barbara Davis, author of Precious Angles, wrote, "The wet towel story was born when Darin and Darlie realized that the police had taken the kitchen sink as evidence, and that the boys’ spatter/cast-off blood had been found on the shoulder areas of her nightshirt."
THE MYSTERIOUS BLACK CAR
As with most mystery movies, the Darlie supporters have thrown a black car into the mix. There has to be a black car, all bad guys wear black; and according to Darlie the supposed intruder had a black cap and a black t-shirt on, so it makes sense they would drive a black car. A suspicious black car supposedly had been driving through the neighborhood and at one point even watched the Routier house. There's not a lot to say about this except mentioning that a black car driving through a populated sub division in a busy residential Dallas suburb wouldn't be all that unusual. Especially when you consider that according to Motor Trend Magazine the color black on a car is the second most popular color among consumers worldwide. (white being the first) And we might want to consider that a black car that a neighbor spotted supposedly driving slowly past the Routier house the evening of the murders ended up parked across the street a few houses down in a driveway and happened to belong to the person that lived there, It was also there the entire next day.
The only report to police of what was referred to as a suspicious car driving through the neighborhood on June 6th shortly before or around the estimated time of the murders was reported by neighbor Sally Bingham. It must not have disturbed her too much because she didn't notify police of this car until the next day after she learned of the murders. And, the problem with this fitting the Darlie supporter's black car theory is that the car Sally reported was white. The police did check out the owners of black vehicles in the area, all were cleared of being linked to the murders.
WAS DARIN ROUTIER MORE INVOLVED THAN WE KNOW?
Those that believe Darlie to be innocent as well as those that steadfastly believe in her guilt do seem to agree on at least one aspect of the case; that Darin Routier was somehow involved. The speculations range from people thinking he may have murdered the boys and attacked Darlie himself in order to cash in on a $250,000 insurance policy, to his helping Darlie stage the crime scene and attempt to cover up what she had done.
Despite what most Darlie supporters claim, Darin Routier was initially the prime suspect until the physical evidence pointed directly to Darlie. Even so, the prosecution was suspicious of Darin's role in the murders. On November 15, 1996 (about 2 months before the trial) prosecutors publicly suggested that Darin might have helped Darlie stage the crime scene to mislead investigators. They cited fibers found on Darin's tennis shoes matched fibers from a sock stained with the boys' blood. Assistant District Attorney Greg Davis said in court papers that investigators also found head hairs matching Darin on the murder weapon. Does this suggest Darin was involved? He lived there, of course his hair is going to be in the house and if he wore that sock, it's not at all unusual that fibers would be found in his shoe. All this proves is that thorough investigative police work took place.
Fifteen months after Darlie was on death row, a somewhat eccentric Waco, Texas multi-millionaire, Brian Pardo, believed Darlie to be innocent. He spent $100,000 financing a private investigation of her case. Pardo had done this before with 38 year old death row inmate David Wayne Spence, found guilty of murdering 3 teenagers in a park. Despite Pardo's efforts, Spence was executed in 1997. In order to rule out Darin Routier as a suspect, Pardo talked him into taking a polygraph examination. He not only failed the examination, he failed it big time. Darin denied involvement of any kind and said the examination results were wrong. On the 1998 Leeza Gibbons show, Darin's mother, Sarilda Routier, claimed he failed it because he hadn't eaten and all he had was a Dr. Pepper that day. Apparently you need to stay away from that Dr. Pepper if you're about to take a polygraph. The overwhelming evidence against Darlie, and Darin's failing the polygraph convinced Pardo to drop his financial assistance.
Darin later did admit to partaking in an insurance scam involving the Jaguar and talked to people about staging a house break in and robbery for insurance purposes but never carried through on it.
In the affidavit signed by Darin Routier where he admitted to looking into hiring someone to burglarize their home as part of an insurance scam that never took place; he also admitted that Darlie asked him for a separation on the night of the murders. This was confirmed by Darlie's attorney, Stephan Cooper.
During the trial, the prosecution suggested that Darlie saw her two older boys as the source of her woes; she lost control of herself, and killed them as a means of putting an end to her personal problems, or as a way to spite Darin after several weeks of bickering about financial problems. They claimed that could have been the reason for her sleeping downstairs for three nights prior to the murders.
DARLIE'S WOUNDS AND THE BARKING DOG
Darlie supporters love to nit pick on small issues of what occurred that night and raise an argument to contend that she couldn't have murdered her children. What they don't mention very often are the major items that convicted her, such as the blood spatter on her nightshirt predominately on the right arm area, Darlie's blood and bloody footprints at the sink, (which she initially denied standing in front of) the blood wiped up at the sink, not one single bloody intruder footprint anywhere, Darlie's picking up the knife, how she could have slept through everything, and of course her ever changing stories to police and during her court testimony.
Darlie supporters contend she couldn't have possibly self-inflicted her wounds. The say "Look how close the laceration came to her carotid artery; who would do that?" Darlie Routier had no medical certification or training of any kind. She had a high school education and just barely graduated at that. She knew nothing about the anatomy and physiology of the vascular system. How would she know how deep or how shallow to cut herself? She just wanted to make it appear that someone had tried to kill her.
Supporters make issue of the small family dog, Domain, who reportedly was loosing his mind barking at police from upstairs upon their arrival. They question how breaking glass could have woken Darin up (as per his testimony) instead of the dog that they say must have been barking the entire time the boys were murdered.
When listening to the 911 tape the dog isn't heard barking at all for the first 3 minutes and 30 seconds of the call, despite all the shouting going on between Darin and Darlie. Darlie friend/neighbor Karen Neal testified for the defense that the dog barked at everyone, including family members. Well apparently not the night of the murders. It only started barking when Officer Waddell, a stranger to the dog, entered the house. The dog also tried to bite Officer Mark Wyman as he ascended the stairs. It makes you wonder how the dog and it's barking didn't run off a supposed intruder. The "Darin-did-it" believers all say "Easy question, Darin locked the dog up in a room while he murdered his sons" They've yet to provide proof of that of course.
In her book "Precious Angels" Barbara Davis wrote “During one of (Detective) Patterson’s visits at the hospital to check on Darlie, he mentioned that the dog had been barking like crazy and would not shut up. He told her a neighbor had to help calm him down just to pick him up and take him out of there. Darlie looked at the detective and responded, “Oh, he always goes off like that when someone he doesn’t know walks in the door.” Patterson was immediately alert. “Did you hear him bark the night of the attack?” Darlie paused, then calmly replied, “Come to think of it, no, he didn’t.” (p.121)
I personally own a Great Pyrenees, he's a large dog with a loud bark and roams free around my house at night. (I live out in the country) He barks at everything at night, possums, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, deer; you name it, he barks at it. When I first got him I thought I'd never sleep at night due to his constant barking. After owning him for about 3 years now I've been able to mentally tune him out. I don't even hear him anymore while I'm sleeping because I'm so used to hearing him bark. If the Routier dog barked at every strange noise as stated, Darin, Darlie and the boys could have easily grown accustomed to the barking and tuned it out as well. No big mystery there and proof of nothing.
WHAT ACTUALLY CONVICTED DARLIE ROUTIER
Simply put, Darlie's numerous ever changing versions of what took place and in particular, the blood evidence is what convicted her. Her version(s) of what occurred in that house did not at all match with the crime scene. Her family and supporters can come up with every explanation in the world and the fact still remains that the blood evidence directly connects Darlie to the crime with no evidence of an intruder or anyone else having been involved. Many supporters realize this and have gone as far as to claim that the evidence investigators manipulated the crime scene to make it look like Darlie was the killer. Preposterous claims of this nature weren't even considered by Darlie's defense attorneys.
CHANGING STORIES RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING
Darlie’s 5 different versions of waking up
- Darlie testified in court that Damon woke her up on the couch pulling on her nightshirt and saying “Mommy, mommy, mommy.” Then she said she looked over and saw a man walking away through the kitchen going toward the utility room.
- She told her friend’s Barbara Jovel and Karen Neal as well as two nurses at the hospital that she heard Damon going " Mommy, mommy. mommy" and she felt pressure on her legs. She said she opened her eyes and a man was swinging a knife straight down at her throat. She further said if she hadn't put her arm up, he would have killed her. (Not mentioned in her trial testimony)
- She told Rowlett police officer Matt Walling and later, Barbara Jovel (a second time) that she woke up to an intruder sitting on her legs and added “He was rubbing a knife blade on my face.” (Not mentioned in her trial testimony)
- In Darlie's written statement to police, 2 days after the murders, she never mentions anything about Damon saying "Mommy, mommy, mommy," she states the she woke up to Damon pushing on her shoulder and crying.
- Darlie told her husband, Darin, that she first woke up from the weight of an intruder sitting on her legs on the couch where she had a brief struggle with him. In this initial version, there was no mention of Damon tapping on her shoulder, or saying mommy, mommy, mommy, or a man rubbing a knife blade on her face as she told Officer Matt Walling and Barbara Jovel. Darin passed this version of her story on to Child Protective Services worker, Jamie Johnson, when she interviewed him.
Darlie’s 4 different versions of fighting the intruder
- She told Officer David Waddell that she fought with the intruder at the end of the kitchen bar (facing the family room)
- She told Officer Matt Walling she fought with the intruder at the couch while she was still laying on it
- In her formal written statement to police, dated June 6th, 1996, she never once mentions fighting any intruder. She states Damon woke her up, she saw a man standing at her feet, he walked past her, though the kitchen, though the utility room and out through the garage.
- On the 911 tape she told dispatcher Doris Tramwell that she fought with the intruder but didn’t specify a location. She told the dispatcher "...I was fighting" but in court she tried to say her words were "...I was frightening," which obviously makes no sense at all.
BLOOD AT THE KITCHEN AND THE LIVING ROOM COUCH
Darlie's 2 different versions about her standing at the kitchen sink
1. Darlie initially told police investigators that she never stood at the kitchen sink despite her blood being found on it, in it, and around it, as well as luminol indicating that her bloody footprints had been wiped up from the floor near it. And despite a puddle of Darlie's blood drops on top of blood drops indicating she had stood there for sometime. (Believed to be where she cut her throat)
2. Then, when police investigators physically removed the sink from the house to take it to the lab for testing, Darlie suddenly remembers (the same day they removed it) and most likely from the advice of council, that she was in front of the sink supposedly wetting towels to place on the boys; which there's no evidence of ever having occurred.
Here's an excerpt from Darlie's arrest warrant referencing the sink and the couch:
"Darlie has never mentioned to us being near the kitchen sink, which is on the west wall of the kitchen, during or after the offense. The physical evidence investigators examined that area and determined that there had been significant quantities of blood shed immediately in front of the sink. Although attempts had been made to clean the counter top and sink, tests with Luminol revealed blood on the top of the counter in front of the sink and on the floor. Nabors, Cron, other officers, and I have all examined the couch where Darlie says she was sleeping when she was attacked; although there are quantities of blood throughout the room and around the boys, there was no appreciable blood on the couch where Darlie's head, neck, and shoulders were located at the time she says (in one of her versions) she was stabbed by her assailant. Our opinion from this blood evidence is that Darlie self-inflicted her wounds while standing at the kitchen sink."
The blood on the couch and pillow is what the Darlie supporters contend prove she was telling the truth about fighting an intruder. But that's not what she first reported; she first said she fought the intruder at the bar. Luminol testing on the side of the couch also revealed a a child's hand print that had been deliberately wiped off. It was later identified as Damon's.
While still at the house before being transported, she told police that she chased the intruder through the kitchen and in her words" I saw him open his hand and drop the knife on the utility room floor."
Rowlett Detective Jimmy Patterson even documented this in his June 18, 1996 arrest warrant" "Darlie told us that she saw the assailant drop the knife in the utility room."
Then in court on the stand the whole story changes again, she testified "He was gone, I walked through the kitchen and saw the knife lying on the floor. It was between the kitchen and the utility room." Then she went on to say that she picked up the knife and put it on the counter. These two stories are completely different from one another. The prosecution stated that Darlie had learned from her lawyer (through the discovery file) before she was put on the stand that there were no spatter marks found in the utility room floor to corroborate her version of "seeing" the intruder drop the knife as she was chasing him. So, on the witness stand, most likely under the advice of counsel. she changed her story to "finding" the knife lying on the floor.
EXAMINING DARLIE'S CALL TO 911
Many Darlie supporters claim that the 911 call proves her innocence when in fact it actually puts her behind the 8 ball. Her original claim regarding her discovery of the murder weapon (the knife) occurred during the 911 call. At two minutes and two seconds into the call. She tells police 911 operator Doris Trammell "...some man came in, stabbed my babies, stabbed me - I woke up - I was fighting - he ran out through the garage and threw the knife down - my babies are dying - they're dead - oh my God..."
Detective Patterson stated: "She told me that the assailant “ran away” and that she “ran” behind him into the kitchen. At that time, Darlie told me that she didn’t see the knife on the utility room floor until she went back to the kitchen doorway near the family room to turn on the light, and that she then saw the knife by looking over the kitchen island toward the utility room floor. When I examined the scene after she told me this version of her story, I was unable to see the utility room floor from the vicinity of the light switch by looking across and over the kitchen island, because the island is too large, and I am taller than Darlie." She had obviously lied to Detective Patterson.
Back to the 911 call, around 4 minutes into the call Darlie can be heard telling the first officer on the scene, David Waddell, “Look out in the garage. They left a knife lying on the…” then dispatcher Doris Trammell interrupts her and says, “Don’t touch anything,” and Darlie replies “I already touched it and picked it up.” Also interesting are Darlie's references to the intruder during the 911 call. She bounces back and forth from saying "he" and "they."
She could never explain how this intruder was able to run through the kitchen, through the blood, through the utility room and garage, without leaving a single bloody footprint anywhere, yet her bloody footprints were found all over the kitchen floor mostly going back and forth from the kitchen sink to the couch area. No blood spatter marks were found on any floor; the kitchen floor, the utility room floor or the garage floor indicating the knife being dropped or "thrown down" as she told the 911 operator. And, that knife had a good deal of blood on it.
Darlie claimed she slept downstairs because baby Drake's tossing and turning kept her awake, yet her two boys are viciously stabbed to death just a few feet away, the intruder gets on top of her on the couch and slashes her several times and she sleeps through all this until Damon wakes her up?
Some supporters claim state that the 911 call shows that Darin didn't arrive downstairs until minutes after Darlie made the call. (He's heard talking to Darlie 30 seconds into the call.) Darlie even said in her initial written statement to police that she screamed for Darin and he was there before she called 911
"I looked over and saw the door shut to the garage, and so I thought he might still be in there, and I needed to get Darin. I ran back through the kitchen, and realized that the entire living room area had blood all over everything. I put the knife on the counter and ran into the entrance, turned on the light and started screaming for Darin. I think I screamed twice, and he ran out of the bedroom with his jeans on, and no glasses and was yelling, 'What is it? What is it?' "I remember saying that he cut them. He tried to kill me. My neck. He ran down the stairs and into the room where the boys were. I grabbed the phone and called 911."
Some Darlie supporters have tried to blame the Rowlette 911 dispatcher (Doris Trammell) for Damon's death due to not giving Darlie first aide instructions over the phone. To be able to do that requires a special level of training called Emergency Medical Dispatcher, or EMD. Dispatchers with EMD certification provide 911 centers with trained personnel that can give a 911 caller pre-EMS arrival medical instructions in accordance with local medical protocols as defined by the local medical director. (An MD) The murders occurred in 1996, The Texas Department of State Health Services didn't approve and incorporate Emergency Medical Dispatchers until November of 1999. (Rule 157.49)
DARLIE ROUTIER'S TESTIMONY AND THE INCRIMINATING LETTERS
Probably the biggest mistake made by Darlie Routier and her defense council during the trial was her insistence on testifying and her being allowed to. She was her own worst enemy on the witness stand under cross examination. The prosecution even commented later that Darlie was their best witness. When the prosecution would point out inconsistencies in her statements and get her cornered, she would either cry and use what prosecutor Toby Shook referred to as "selective amnesia" and say "I just don't remember." even though most of the things that she just couldn't remember were things she had already told other people. Some readers may recall that this same "selective amnesia" tactic was used quite a bit in the high-profile trial of Jodi Arias (convicted of brutally murdering her boyfriend) when she would get cornered by the prosecution on the stand or caught in a lie, she too would reply "I just don't remember."
Darlie completely folded up during her testimony, or as one court reporter put it, "The prosecution made mincemeat of her on the stand." Prosecutor Toby Shook hammered her with question after question after question that she couldn't answer. He asked her why she told one policeman one thing and something completely different to another; he asked why her dog didn't bark when the intruder entered the house, he asked why the blood at the kitchen sink and counter had been cleaned up, he asked her why the 17 minute security light wasn't on when police arrived 3 minutes after the 911 call, he asked her why there were no blood drops, bloody footprints, or bloody finger prints in the garage, at the screen, the window, the yard, the gate, he asked her how she could possibly sleep through an intruder viciously stabbing her boys just a few feet from her and cutting her without hearing anything or waking up....she began crying and would reply "I don't know, or I don't remember." (She said one phrase or the other 72 times during her testimony)
Darlie consistently told investigators that she could not remember the intruders face. She described his clothes and approximate height, but she stated that she either didn't look at his face or couldn't remember it. Then while in jail awaiting trial over the course of Nov. 1, 2, and 3, 1996, she wrote a series of letters to family and friends. She wrote five letters including one to her neighbor and friend Karen Neal, and to her Aunt Sandy. both letters stated " I know who did it, Glenn did, I saw him. I know he did it." The letter to Aunt Sandy further stated: "We believe we know who did it. That FBI guy is working on it. We have two months to work on it. We already have so much on him. I really believe he did it. Darin will have to tell you about him it's a long story, I know it's him. I saw him and I know it's him" The jailers intercepted the letters and gave them to the DA's office.
When prosecutor Toby Shook began reading the letters to Darlie while on the witness stand, she asked him: "Where did you get those? Those are my private letters." Shook told her they had been intercepted by her jailers. She actually asked the judge if it was legal to do that which resulted in the courtroom spectators (including some jurors) breaking out in laughter. Judge Tolle using his gavel had to call the court back to order. At this point Darlie began crying again. Shook produced a third letter and read out loud "I know who did it, and it's driving me crazy that he is out there running free.." Then he read out loud a fourth letter to one of Darlie's friends stating: "I'm praying they'll be able to get a confession from Glenn." Then yet a fifth letter sent to her Aunt LouAnn, Shook read out loud: "We know who did this and we're trying to get more on him." Darlie was crying non-stop at this point and Shook stopped reading the letters.
Investigators located Glenn Mize the man Darlie was referring to. Mize was a friend of one of Darin's employees. Darlie had told Mize's wife about him cussing out their secretary on one occasion and that she didn't appreciate it. In turn, Mize was upset with Darlie and supposedly called her and according to Darlie, he threatened her. Prosecutor Toby Shook brought him in to the courtroom in front of the jury while Darlie was on the witness stand. Mize didn't at all fit the physical description Darlie had given police of the intruder and when he was presented to her, she denied that he was man that attacked her.
THE EVIDENCE INDEPENDANTLY REVISITED
In 2014, a group of experienced retired homicide investigators from different parts of the country did an independent research study and revisited the evidence found at the crime scene. This included interviews with the original investigating detectives and evidence collection technicians. They went as far as creating a mock up of the family room and kitchen where the incidents occurred and followed the blood trail, or blood map and walked through each step of the evidence. Although their motives for Darlie committing the murders differed slightly, they unanimously agreed that there was no doubt in their minds that Darlie Routier alone committed the murders based only on the evidence found at the scene. Each investigator also agreed that they felt Darin Routier had some post-murder involvement in covering up what Darlie had done.
The investigative team met with Charlie Samford, the juror that Darlie supporters always make mention of in reference to his doubts regarding Darlie's guilt, particularly in reference to the bruise photos of Darlie. He had stated publicly that if he had seen the photos in court, that he would have voted not guilty. They presented their conclusions to Mr. Samford and explained methodically how they came about them. Mr Samford said that the prosecution hadn't explained the evidence in the detail that they had and he recanted his feelings on Darlie being innocent.
Most likely no one will ever know what the exact causes and contributing factors were for Darlie Routier to decide to murder her children, outside of Darlie herself and probably Darin. It could have been a combination of postpartum depression, the financial strains, or maybe the increasing bickering with Darin. It would seem that something reached the boiling point that got her to tell Darin that she wanted a separation that night. (which she conveniently neglected to tell investigators about)
Darlie's friend Basia (Barbara Jovel) stated in a 2016 YouTube interview that Darlie and Darin had been fighting every day for weeks over the money situation before the murders. Darlie even told her housekeeper the day of the murders that there was "...going to be a big fight tonight." Evidently Darlie and Darin had this fight and she ended up asking for a separation. Darin eventually goes upstairs to go to bed and Darlie stayed downstairs in the family room with the boys. Perhaps she just laid there on the couch stewing over the fight they had just had. She may have gotten more and more upset thinking about it and somehow justified in her mind that her two oldest boys were the source of her problems; who knows? Some people have even suggested that maybe she had originally planned to kill her children and herself but "chickened out" at the last minute from killing herself, or Darin woke up from the noise and stopped Darlie before she was able to kill herself.
Some of Darlie's blood was discovered on the couch, she may have done the chest cut on herself on the couch, to stage the "intruder attack at the couch" story, then she proceeded to the sink to perform her neck wound so she would be close to a towel and a water source to control the bleed. She seemed to think that water was like a hemostatic agent and would stop bleeding, as she testified when falsely describing putting wet towels on the boys. It's also important to note that insurance records on the boys and her handwritten will were found at the foot of the couch by investigators.
The forensic pathologist that conducted the autopsy's on the boys testified that from the nature of the wounds and the force that was used, that it appeared to have been done by someone in a fit of rage. Obviously, a lot more occurred between Darin and Darlie that night than either one of them cared to tell investigators about.
This was a very disturbing case and an emotional case. It's difficult to accept that a mother could possibly do this to her children. Seeing all the video interviews of Darlie Routier, the home movies, the photos of her with the boys smiling and seemingly happy, makes it's hard to understand what drove her to committing such an unspeakable act. She obviously loved them and cared for them up to a point where some unexplained psychological breakdown occurred and she snapped. As difficult as it is emotionally to accept this, the forensic evidence cannot be ignored. With the recent 2015 DNA results, it just all the more confirms that there is not one shred of evidence to show that an intruder came in the house and killed Damon and Devon or that the only other person in the house, Darin Routier, was responsible for murdering his sons. Along with Darlie's inconsistent stories and the physical evidence found at the scene of the crime, it points to no one else but Darlie Routier. It did at the conclusion of the trial and still does today.
I have to agree with author Don Davis' conclusions of the trial. Darlie's attorney, Doug Mulder, should never have allowed her to testify, She destroyed what little credibility she had on the stand and her backpedaling and illogical testimony along with her constant replies of "I don't remember" and "I don't know" had a profound impact on the jury. She literally sealed her own fate on the witness stand. What Darlie told police investigators and the prosecutor's in court simply did not match the crime scene. Mulder should have advised her not to even attempt to argue with prosecutor Toby Shook, a skilled and experienced attorney trained to take apart a witness on the stand; especially when that witness is the defendant. Darlie's attorneys should never have allowed her to write letters from jail discussing the case. Those letters were the icing on the cake for the prosecution to show that Darlie had lied.
After the 2015 DNA results came back, Darlie, Darlie Kee, and Darin have all refused requests for interviews.
I was there from the beginning to the end of that nightmare and although I believed her at first, it wasn't until the middle of the trial that I realized she did it. Then it all fell in to place and made sense. She's guilty and I've been shunned from the family for saying it and believing. You can't be part of the clan and be against Darlin. [sic]— A close relative (Name withheld by request)
DARLIE ROUTIER TODAY
Darlie Lynn Routier is currently on death row at the Mountain View Prison Unit, Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, in Gatesville, Texas, after being convicted of murdering her youngest son, 5-year old Damon.
She was also charged with Devon's murder but not tried by the prosecution for two reasons. First, in the State of Texas, a murder conviction of a child under the age of 6 carries an automatic death penalty. And second, the prosecution felt that if for some reason she was found not guilty of murdering Damon, they would charge her with Devon's murder.
It's been estimated that Darlie Routier's cost to the taxpayers in Texas to-date, including her trial and prosecution is close to 2.5 million. The average cost to house a death row inmate in Texas is close to $90,000/year
With the recent 2015 DNA results and denied state appeals, Darlie is quickly running out of options and time. The state of Texas allows three appeals for retrial. She's lost her direct appeal to the state and she lost her writ appeal to the state. Her third appeal has moved to the federal level with the U.S. District Court in San Antonio, which is her last option. The federal court judge has not yet ruled on the recent DNA results. If the judge denies further motions from Darlie Routier's attorney, then that court will go ahead and set a date for execution.
Even if by some remote chance, Darlie won an appeal, was granted a new trial for Damon's murder, and acquitted, the District Attorney can charge her with Devon's murder and she would face a whole new murder trial.
I think if I live to be a hundred, I wouldn't be able to tell you everything that happened that night. - Darlie Routier (From a post-conviction prison interview)
Do you think Darlie Routier is guilty of murdering her two boys?
TEXAS MOM'S THAT HAVE KILLED THEIR CHILDREN
52 children have been violently murdered in Texas in the past 22 years by their mothers.
Darlie Routier, Rowlett, TX, 1996 - Stabbed her 2 children to death
Kanisha Berry, Beaumont TX 1998 Suffocated her 4 day old child with a bag
Tina Marie Cornelius, Austin, TX 1999 - Threw her 2 toddlers off a cliff.
Lisa Ann Diaz, Plano, TX 1999 - Drowned her 2 children in a kiddy pool.
Andrea Yates, Houston, TX 2001 - Drowned all 5 of her children in the bathtub
Dee Etta Perez, Hudson Oaks, TX, 2002 - Shot and killed her 3 children
Valeria Maxon, Mansfield TX, 2003 - Drowned her son in the hot tub
Deanna Laney, Tyler, TX, 2003 - Stoned her 2 sons to death with rocks.
Dena Schlosser, Plano, TX, 2004 - Killed her daughter slowly with a knife.
Marcella Williams, Plano, TX 2004 - Starved her 9 year old son to death
Angela Camacho, Brownsville, 2005 - Suffocated & decapitated her 3 children.
Gilberta Estrada, Mansfield TX, 2007 - Hung her 3 children in a closet
Blaine Milam Lake Cherokee TX, 2008 - killed 1 year old daughter with a hammer
Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle, Rice, TX, 2013 - Shot and killed her 3 children.
Angelica Vazquez, Mesquite, TX, 2013 - Shot and killed her 2 children
Michelle Stone, Amarillo, TX, 2016 - Shot and killed her 3 children
Christy Sheats Houston, TX, 2016 - Shot and killed her 2 daughters
Sheborah Thomas, Houston TX, 2016 - Drowned her 2 children in the bathtub
Santhiya Lakshmigari, Plano TX 2017 - Slashed 5 year old son's throat with a knife
Krystle Villanueva, Kyle, TX, 2017 - Mutilated/stabbed her daughter to death with a knife and laughed about it.
Laquita Lewis, Houston TX, 2017 - Admitted to stabbing 4-old daughter to death (not yet tried)
Cynthia Marie Randolph, Parker County, TX, 2017 - Admitted to keeping her 2 yr old and 1 year old in a hot car as punishment. They died of hyperthermia.(not yet tried)
Sarah Henderson, Mabank, TX, Nov 2017 - admitted to shooting and killing her 7 and 5 year old daughters. (Not yet tried)
Flor de Maria Pineda, Galveston, TX Jan 2018 - shot and killed her 5 year old and 10 year old sons.
Currently (2018) there are 6 women on death row in the state of Texas: Kimberly Cargill, Linda Carty, Erica Sheppard, Brittany Holberg, Melissa Lucion, and Darlie Routier.
Darlie's Infamous Graveside Silly String Birthday Party
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© 2016 SClemmons