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The Case Against Darlie Routier

Did the Jury Get All the Facts?

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Darlie Routier stood on her porch in her blood-soaked nightgown and told the police what she remembered about the attack that had just occurred to her and her two sons.

She said that an intruder had entered their home and "mounted" her while she slept. When she woke up, she screamed and fought with him, fighting off his blows. She said he then fled toward the garage and that was when she noticed her two sons who were covered in blood. She said she had heard nothing while they were being attacked. She described the intruder as medium-to-tall height, dressed in a black T-shirt, black jeans and a baseball cap.

Darlie and Darin were then taken to the hospital and the Rowlett Police Department seized the house and began their investigation.

Within 11 days of the murder of Devon and Damon, the Rowlett Police Department arrested Darlie Routier, charging her with capital murder of her sons.

The prosecutor’s case against Darlie was presented with these key issues:

  • Coroner Janice Townsend-Parchman testified that the boys' wounds were savage and deep, but described Darlie's as hesitation wounds, possibly self inflicted.

  • Paramedic Larry Byford said Darlie never asked about the condition of her children when she was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

  • Charles Hamilton, a fingerprint expert who examined the scene, said that the only prints found were Darlie's and her childrens'.

  • Tom Bevel, a blood expert, testified that the blood on Darlie's nightshirt belonged to her sons. It had been sprayed on her and he suggested that this could happen as she raised her arms upward in a stabbing motion.

  • Nurses from the hospital testified that Darlie did not demonstrate grief towards the loss of her sons. They claimed she seemed more concerned with making a point to say she picked up the knife off the kitchen floor, which put her prints on the knife.

  • Also mentioned was the blood found under a vacuum cleaner and blood spots on the cleaner itself, indicating that the vacuum cleaner had been placed there after the crime was committed.

  • Charles Linch, a trace-evidence expert, said it was impossible for an intruder to leave that scene without a trail of blood. There was no blood found outside the Routier home.

  • FBI's special agent Al Brantley testified that the window screen that was cut could have merely been removed by an intruder. Also that Darlie's expensive jewelry had been left untouched, discounting robbery as a motive. As to the motive being rape, he said that a rapist would have used her children as leverage to get her to submit, not killed them. And finally he addressed the savagery of the stabbing of the boys and said that in his opinion, it was a personal attack done with extreme anger, not by a stranger.

Darlie took the stand against the advice of her counsel. They asked her why she told different versions of the story to different policemen. They asked about her dog, which barks at strangers but didn't bark when the intruder entered her home. They asked about her why her kitchen was cleaned but under testing showed remnants of blood all over. To most of the questions, Darlie answered that she didn't remember or didn't know.

The jury found Darlie Routier guilty of the murder and sentenced her to death.

The prosecutions case against Darlie Routier was circumstantial and based on experts who theorized about evidence collected or viewed at the crime scene. The prosecution did what it set out to do, which was to get the jury to find Darlie guilty of murder, but was all the evidence shown to the jury? If not, why wasn't it?

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