The carpet impression could not have been made by the knife, because it’s not a perfect match.
In the family room, approximately 18″ from Devon’s body, Charles Linch observed a bloody impression that resembled a knife. The carpeting was removed and sent to the crime lab for further analysis. The significance of this evidence, from the prosecution’s standpoint, was that an assailant would not put the knife down, thereby disarming himself, after injuring the mother.
Davis: States 111-B and 111-C, are those photos that you took on Sept. 12, 1996 of the stain pattern and the knife supplied to you by the Rowlett Police Department?
Linch: Yes, sir.
Davis: What part of the family room are we looking at in States 111-A?
Linch: This is the area where the body of Devon Routier was found.
Davis: What did you do with that knife (Exhibit 67, the butcher knife)?
Linch: The knife was put into the imprint of blood on the carpet to see if it would fit.
Davis: Did it?
Linch: Yes, sir.
(Charles Linch, Sec. 2854-2862)
The defense scored no points in the cross-examination of Linch.
Mosty: You can’t say that that impression in the carpet is a knife, can you? *
Linch: Not to the exclusion of all other objects, no.
Mosty: So, maybe the impression in the carpet is a knife, and maybe it isn’t?
Linch: Of all the objects in the house, it was the one that fits best in that imprint.
(Charles Linch, Sec. 2968-2969)
*Defense attorneys love this question, because they know that, legally, the witness can only say, “Not to the exclusion of all other objects.” In other words, not to the exclusion of every other object in the world. As this is an impossible standard, common sense generally comes into play.
Later in the trial, Tom Bevel also testified about the carpet impression. He had conducted multiple tests similar to the ones done in the utility room – that is, he dipped the butcher knife in human blood, allowed it to stop dripping, and then threw, dropped, and laid the knife on the family room carpet. To counter this piece of evidence, the defense zeroed in on a 1″ bloodstain extending from the tip of the impression.
Mosty: It’s curious to me that this bloodstain actually extends out past the end of the knife, doesn’t it?
Bevel: It does, sir. It’s a continuous stain.
Mosty: Ok, but when the knife is laid in here for comparison purposes, there is still an inch more of that same stain sticking out in front of the knife?
Mosty: Well, I don’t understand what this 1″ of blood out on the end of it is.
Bevel: It’s a drip. That is where the blood dropped from the knife as the knife is coming down and as the knife, in its movement toward the floor, once it comes in contact with the floor, the point of the knife is on the end of the line closest to the front of the knife.
Mosty: So your testimony is that this 1″ is because of blood falling on the carpet before the knife hits the carpet?
Bevel: Before it comes in contact, that is correct.
(Tom Bevel, Sec. 3470-3478)
Bevel clarified his opinion on redirect: “The knife has to be held above the area, to where the blood is dripping, and there has to be some backward motion, and you are just simply laying it down.”
Davis: Mr. Bevel, now that we know that the blood shown in this 1″ extension is Darlie Routier’s blood, and the blood in the outline is also Darlie Routier’s blood, would that indicate that this knife was laid on the carpet after Darlie Routier was bleeding?
Bevel: It would.
Davis: And if you will assume for a moment that the assailant first stabbed Devon Routier twice in the chest, then stabbed Damon Routier four times in the back, and then cut Darlie Routier along the neck, the shoulder and the arm, would you expect an assailant to disarm himself voluntarily after he has injured an adult in a home?
Bevel: I would not expect that to occur, no, sir.
(Tom Bevel, Sec. 3586-3588)
Except for the small extension, the butcher knife corresponded to the carpet impression in regard to the pointed end, the wide end, and the handle. This was confirmed by two different witnesses. Taking into consideration that Darlie had a cut on her right arm, and that the knife outline in the carpet was in Darlie’s blood, Bevel’s opinion was that enough blood was running down the knife to cause it to drip off the end of the blade shortly before it was laid (not thrown or dropped) on the carpet. The defense did not call any witnesses to the stand to refute Linch’s and Bevel’s findings.
Why would Darlie lay the knife down? We don’t know. It’s possible that after inflicting her own wounds, Darlie checked Devon to make sure he wasn’t breathing, and laid the knife down momentarily. The alternative is that an assailant put the knife down after injuring the one adult who was still very much alive, and still very much a threat to him. I find the first scenario much more plausible.