Darlie Routier Fact & Fiction
Devon, age 6, was dead. Damon, age 5, died before reaching the hospital. The mother’s wounds, according to all medical reports, were superficial. Darlie told police officers that she had fought with an intruder. He was wearing a black shirt, dark pants and a ball cap.
She chased the suspect across the kitchen, at which point he escaped through the garage. Based on Darlie's account of what happened, police conducted a thorough search of the crime scene and neighborhood. It quickly became apparent that there was no evidence of a stranger entering or leaving the house that night. As time passed, the investigation became more focused on the adults who lived in the home.
Eventually, the evidence overwhelmingly pointed in one direction: the mother of Devon and Damon. Darlie Routier was arrested on June 18th for the murder of her two little boys. After a month-long trial, she was convicted of capital murder on February 1, 1997. As of 2014, she remains on Texas's death row, appealing her conviction.
AFFIDAVIT FOR ARREST WARRANT, subscribed and sworn June 18, 1996
From my (Jimmy Patterson's) review of the 911 tape, and my discussions with Darlie, her husband Darin Routier, paramedics, and officers, I know the following:
Officers and paramedics arriving at the scene found Darlie Routier, Darin Routier, and their sons, Devon Routier (6 years old) and Damon Routier (5 years old), in the downstairs portion of the house in the rear living area on the southwest corner of the house. Devon had been stabbed multiple times, including major penetrating wounds to his chest. Damon had multiple wounds, including approximately five major penetrating wounds to his back. Darlie had a slashing wound to her neck, a minor stab wound to her left shoulder, minor cuts to the creases of the last knuckles on the palm side of her left fingers, a minor cut or scrape on the left side of her chin, and a laceration to the top of her right forearm.
When the 911 call began, Darlie referred to the assailant as "they" although she told Sgt. Walling, the second officer at the scene, that the assailant was a single white male, possibly wearing a dark colored ballcap, blue jeans, and a black shirt. Darlie told me later, shortly after 6 A.M. that morning, that the assailant was one male, probably white, with shoulder-length hair, a black baseball cap with bill facing front, a black pullover short sleeved tee shirt, blue jeans. Darlie told the 911 dispatcher that "my little boy's dying" and later "my babies are dying." Despite the fact that she knew that one or both of the boys were still alive, Waddell has told me that Darlie never made attempts to stop their bleeding, touch them, or render other first aid. Before going to the garage, Waddell told her twice to take the rag that she was holding and apply pressure to the wounds of the younger child, who had been stabbed in the back, but she never went to the child or attempted to help him (although she said in a later written statement that she put a towel on his back before police arrived). Waddell remarked that Darlie was instead preoccupied with the minor wound on her neck, and she kept the rag pressed to it.
Darlie told Waddell upon his arrival that the assailant had gone out the utility room and into the garage and out of the house through the garage. Waddell went to the utility room and garage to look for the assailant. He saw no one in the garage. While Waddell and Walling were in the garage, they saw that one of the garage windows leading into the back yard of the house was open and that the screen was split.
Darlie initially told officers at the scene, and me at the hospital that same morning, that she was asleep in the family room on the couch, which sits parallel to the west wall of the house, and awoke to find the assailant standing over her with the knife in his hand. She had then struggled with him, and that he then walked away through the kitchen, into the utility room, and out of the house through the garage (which adjoined the utility room); in this story Darlie told us that she saw the assailant drop the knife in the utility room. Darlie told officers at the scene that she realized she had been stabbed while she was on the couch. She told me that she realized she had been stabbed only after she found the knife. When she gave me a written statement on June 8, she changed her story to say that she woke with Damon, the younger child, pressing on her shoulder and that the assailant was "standing" down by her feet at the end of the couch "walking away" from her. In the written statement, Darlie said that she "walked after him and heard a glass breaking." In the written statement Darlie did not mention the knife until she says she "realized there was a big white handled knife laying on the floor of the utility room" when she followed the assailant there from the kitchen. In the written statement Darlie said she picked up the knife "thinking he was in the garage." When Darlie later drew a diagram of the house for me, which is attached to this affidavit as exhibit A, 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.
During the 911 call, after about 4 minutes had passed and the first officer had apparently arrived, Darlie said, "Look out in the garage. They left a knife lying on the..." The dispatcher told her, "Don't touch anything," to which Darlie replied "I already touched it and picked it up." Darlie later told the dispatcher again that she had touched the knife, 5 minutes into the call, and while her dying children were still on the floor in front of her, and she said, "I wonder if we could have gotten the prints maybe."
During the 911 call, there is no mention of, or sound from, Darin until 43 seconds into the call, after which a male voice is first heard. Darlie told the 911 dispatcher that "my husband...just ran downstairs," but she never asks him or mentions during the call her 8-month-old baby, who Darlie and Darin later told us was sleeping upstairs with Darin at the time of this offense.
I know from talking to the officers involved and reviewing their reports that Rowlett patrol officers secured the crime scene and maintained it until crime scene physical evidence officers arrived at the scene within 2 or 3 hours of the 911 call. Sgt. Nabors, Rowlett Police physical evidence supervisor, personally surveyed the scene and made a preliminary report which I have read. Nabors also sought the assistance of retired Dallas County Sheriff's Lieutenant James Cron to help examine the crime scene, because Cron has extensive experience in examination of murder crime scenes. Cron has also sent some preliminary reports which I have reviewed. We also have received assistance from Richardson Police Physical Evidence Supervisor Jeff Craig, who helped obtain blood evidence from the kitchen and other areas. From my own investigation of the scene, as well as my discussions with Sgt. Nabors, Lt. Cron, Mr. Craig, and my review of their reports, I have learned the following facts inconsistent with Darlie Routier's stories to us:
Although Darlie has consistently said that the assailant fled the house through the garage, there was no blood found in the garage, on the window in the garage, or on the white wood fence or gate surrounding the back yard, even though the assailant would have had to leave the back yard over the fence or through the gate. The overhead garage door, the only way out of the garage besides the windows, was closed and latched from inside when police arrived, and Darlie has never told us that she heard the door open or close. The window sills had a layer of dust on them which was undisturbed. Mulch on flower beds between the garage and backyard gate was undisturbed in the morning hours after the offense when Cron examined it.
Although Darlie told us that she followed the assailant through the kitchen and heard him breaking glass ahead of her, the only broken glass found in or around the house was a wine glass which was broken on the kitchen floor. Bloody footprints were found on the kitchen floor and photographed by physical evidence investigators at the scene. These footprints were all made by a single-size set of bare feet. Darlie was barefoot when officers arrived at the scene. The broken wine glass on the kitchen floor was found lying on top of one of the bloody footprints - the footprints appeared to have been left on the floor before the glass was broken on top of it. We examined Darlie's feet and took footprints with her consent on June 10th. I have seen the footprints on the kitchen floor and the footprints taken from Darlie and her husband Darin, and the footprints on the floor appear to me to be the same size as Darlie's prints. Although the broken glass was near and on top of the prints on the floor, Darlie had no injuries to the bottom of her feet four days after the offense. Darin also had no injuries to his feet, and his feet are much larger than Darlie's. All of the bloody footprints on the kitchen floor lead from the kitchen sink area back toward the family room where the offense occurred. There are no bloody footprints leading into the utility room where Darlie says she followed the assailant. There was also an upright vacuum cleaner overturned in the kitchen with blood on its handle - the vacuum would have appeared to have been overturned in a struggle or by accident, except that it was overturned on top of blood drops and bloody bare footprints leading back into the family room.
Although Darlie has at some times told us that she found the knife on the utility room floor, Cron has examined the floor and told me that he has found no blood spatters or other marks consistent with the bloody murder weapon being dropped on that floor.Although 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 or dripped 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. 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 she was stabbed by her assailant. Cron's opinion from this blood evidence is that Darlie self-inflicted her wounds while standing at the kitchen sink.
The murder weapon, a wooden block knife-holder from the kitchen, and the cut screen and uncut screen from the garage windows, among other things, were seized at the scene by Rowlett officers and turned over to Charlie Linch, a forensic analyst employed by the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas. Mr. Linch performed tests on the undamaged screen taken from the garage and compared residue from that screen and residue found on one of the knives taken from the kitchen, and his opinion is that the garage screen found cut by police, and through which the assailant supposedly exited and/or entered the house, was cut from the outside of the house using a knife from Darlie's kitchen, which knife was recovered from the wood block container after the offense. Linch has also told me that the murder weapon matches the set contained in the wood block container taken from the kitchen, and the murder weapon is consistent with the slot in that wooden block container from which one knife was missing when the block was seized by police.
Although Darlie initially told us that she "struggled" with the assailant, Cron's opinion is that the blood in the family room is inconsistent with a violent struggle. Although Darlie, at some points, has told us that she chased her assailant through the kitchen, the blood left in the kitchen lacks the "high velocity" spread pattern which would be consistent with spatters left behind by someone running through the area.
I spoke today to Mike Bosillo, an investigator with the Dallas D.A.'s office, who spoke today to Dr. McClain of the Dallas County Medical Examiner's office. Dr. McClain told Bosillo, and he told me that Dr. McClain performed the autopsy on the older child, Devon, who McClain says sustained two wounds to the chest. The larger of the wounds, the top of which began above the child's right nipple and which extended 2" in length in a downward direction, had a maximum depth of penetration of 5", exiting the right chest wall on the child's back. The wound penetrated the child's rib cage, breaking the child's ribs.
At my request, Dr. Townsend-Parchman of the Dallas County Medical Examiner's office examined Darlie's injuries on June 6, and she has told me that the wounds could possibly have been self-inflicted.
Based upon the above information which I have received from investigating officers, my own investigation, and Dr. McClain and Dr. Townsend-Parchman, I believe that the wounds inflicted upon Darlie were of a completely different character and severity than those inflicted upon her sons. None of her wounds were deep, penetrating wounds to vital areas of her body such as those received by her sons.
Based on those facts, I believe that someone from inside the house took a knife from the kitchen, cut the garage window screen from outside the house prior to the offense, and then replaced the knife in the kitchen block container. I further believe that Darlie Routier's stories to police are internally inconsistent and inconsistent with all of the physical evidence at the scene. I further believe that her repeated statements to the 911 dispatcher about her fingerprints on the knife, her lack of concern and attempts to help her dying son, and her lack of concern for her remaining infant child who was upstairs during the offense and whose condition was apparently unknown to Darlie during the call, are indicative of her guilt and inconsistent with her story that she had awakened after the violent assault on her two older sons and after she had been wounded. I further believe that her story, that she slept through the violent stabbings of her sons only a few feet away from her and through multiple cuts inflicted upon herself, is incredible.
Based upon the above facts, I believe that Darlie Routier committed the capital murder of Damon Routier and Devon Routier in Dallas County, Texas on or about June 6, 1996.