They said bloody footprints were found under the vacuum, that I planted the vacuum – we all know someone moved the vacuum out of the way during the chaos.
An overturned vacuum cleaner, atop Darlie’s bloody footprints, was found near the kitchen sink. This contradicts her story that she followed the intruder through the opposite side of the kitchen, past the wine rack, which was nowhere near the sink. Darlie testified that the vacuum cleaner was never in the kitchen while she was there, but her words lack credibility.
Shook: The vacuum cleaner was where?
Darlie: It was beside the kitchen bar, on the family room side. I had been leaning over it for support, just to keep myself up. When I sat down, I kind of took the vacuum cleaner with me.
Shook: In your ten-page statement, you don’t mention leaning on the vacuum cleaner at all, do you?
Darlie: No, sir.
Shook: Don’t mention having to hold on to it like a cane?
Darlie: No sir.
(Darlie Routier, Sec. 4876 – 4877)
Why would she lean on an unstable vacuum cleaner, on rollers, when the kitchen bar was within arm’s reach? It makes no sense. In addition, not a single witness, other than Darlie and Darin, said they saw the vacuum on the family room side of the kitchen bar. And the Routiers never mentioned it to anyone until they testified, seven months after the murders.
David Waddell, first officer on the scene, didn’t recall seeing the vacuum in the kitchen, but it’s understandable why he did not. The vacuum was lying on the floor almost directly in front of the sink, and mostly blocked from view by the kitchen island. All of his attention was focused on the garage, because Darlie had told him that the intruder was still in there. Waddell took the shortest path to the garage, which was on the opposite side of the kitchen island by the wine rack.
(David Waddell, Sec. 314, 326 – 327, 331)
Matt Walling, second officer on the scene, testified that he saw the vacuum in the kitchen, but wasn’t sure exactly when he saw it.
Shook: Were you looking in this area, which is the other side of the island, in the area of the sink?
Walling: No, sir. I didn’t pay very much attention to that area.
Shook: Do you know if there was anything lying on the floor or standing up in this area?
Walling: There was a vacuum cleaner. I don’t know if I saw it when I initially went through or later during the walk-through, but there was a vacuum cleaner [in the kitchen].
(Matthew Walling, Sec. 475)
Darlie claims that a paramedic moved the vacuum. This has also been described by one loyal supporter as “a paramedic picking up the vacuum and hurling it over the bar into the kitchen.” Utter nonsense. Kolby couldn’t possibly have moved a vacuum cleaner, because he didn’t go any farther than the family room entrance where Damon lay. Nor did Koschak see or move a vacuum cleaner.
Davis: Did you ever move a vacuum cleaner inside the residence?
Koschak: No, sir.
Davis: When you first saw the defendant by the kitchen bar, did you see a vacuum cleaner in the vicinity of where she was?
Koschak: No, sir.
(Brian Koschak, Sec. 1498)
Darlie also had this to say about the vacuum: “A Rowlett police officer testified during trial that he moved the vacuum cleaner.” She is referring to David Mayne, one of the first officers to investigate the crime scene. He most certainly did move the vacuum cleaner, but not in the way Darlie is insinuating. She has taken his words out of context to imply that the investigators were moving evidence around willy-nilly. That is simply not true. Here is the testimony regarding the vacuum cleaner:
Mayne: Myself and James Cron started looking at the vacuum cleaner, and we observed bloody footprints underneath it.
Davis: Well, are you actually looking at the floor around the vacuum cleaner then?
Mayne: Yes, sir. We also observed blood on the handle, so we decided to lift it up and look underneath it.
Davis: Please demonstrate for the jury exactly how you picked it up…okay, when you lifted it up, did you roll the vacuum cleaner on the floor in any way?
Mayne: No, sir. I picked it straight up below the handle that had blood on it.
(David Mayne, Sec. 1660, 1663)
James Cron’s testimony corroborated David Mayne’s.
Davis: In order to process the scene properly, is it necessary at times to move things?
Cron: Definitely, to do a thorough investigation. It would be equivalent to having a body at the scene and not looking under it.
Davis: Well, after the initial photographs are taken, would you consider it to be altering or tampering with a crime scene to move certain things?
Davis: Is that done on all crime scenes by police every day?
Cron: It would be malpractice if they didn’t.
(James Cron, Sec. 2202-2203)
Halina Czaban was at the Routier home that day doing laundry and cleaning. She testified that she left the vacuum cleaner next to the wine rack upon leaving the house that evening. There is no testimony, other than Darlie’s, that places the vacuum cleaner in the family room. Neither the police nor the paramedics saw it there. Had she been leaning on it, and particularly if she’d sat down and taken the vacuum cleaner with her, as she claimed, someone would have noticed.
Darlie did not mention the vacuum cleaner at all in her ten-page statement to police on June 8th, 1996. She did not state that she was leaning on it for support. She did not state that it fell over as she collapsed to the floor. I believe she avoided the entire subject for a good reason, one that is explored more fully in Myth 11.