Darlie wasn’t worried about fingerprints on the knife. She only mentioned it once during the emergency call, and that was in response to the 911 operator telling her not to touch anything.
Excerpts from 911 call
Darlie: …some man…came in…stabbed my babies…stabbed me…I woke up, I was fighting…he ran out through the garage…threw the knife down…
Darlie: y’all look out in the garage…y’all look out in the garage…they left a knife laying on…
911 Operator: there’s a knife…don’t touch anything
Darlie: I already touched it and picked it up…
Darlie’s statements on this call about seeing, touching, and picking up the knife are not suspicious in and of themselves. In fact, if she had uttered these words to the 911 operator, and only to the 911 operator, it wouldn’t have raised a single red flag. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Darlie’s concern about fingerprints began with the emergency call, but it didn’t end there. It continued through the rest of that night and through the next couple of days.
David Waddell, first officer of the scene, testified for the prosecution.
Davis: Does she volunteer information about picking up the knife?
Davis: Is it in response to anyone’s question or direction?
Waddell: No…she told me she’d picked up the knife and thought she’d messed up the fingerprints.
(David Waddell, Sec. 323, 415)
There has been speculation that Waddell simply overheard Darlie telling the 911 operator about the knife. Not so. She pointed to the kitchen bar and told Waddell that “she’d picked it up and laid it on the counter and she told me that she probably should not have done that, because she messed up the fingerprints on the knife.” (David Waddell, Sec. 52) Christopher Wielgosz, Baylor Hospital nurse, testified that he did not ask Darlie any questions whatsoever. “At one point in time, she stated aloud that she’d picked up the knife after the attacker dropped it, and she was concerned that maybe her fingerprints had obscured the attacker’s fingerprints.”
Shook: When she made the statement, had you asked her anything about the incident?
Wielgosz: No, absolutely not.
(Christopher Wielgosz, Sec. 916, 917)
Early the next morning, Darlie told Detectives Patterson and Frosch, “I picked up the knife. I shouldn’t have picked up the knife, because I probably covered up the fingerprints. I shouldn’t have picked up the knife.” (Christopher Wielgosz, Sec. 923) Darlie was still concerned enough about fingerprints, two days after the murders, that she mentioned it to Dr. Dillawn.
Shook: Did you check her over before she was released, discharged?
Dillawn: Yes, I did.
Shook: Ok, did she talk to you about anything that the police had asked her?
Dillawn: Yes, she did. I can’t remember the specific details, but it concerned a knife which she was attempting to explain, I would assume, some piece of evidence that she had been confronted with. And she was trying to explain to me how she–this was–somehow she could explain the reason it had something on it. I don’t remember the specific details, but it was about a knife.
(Dr. Dillawn, Sec. 866-867)
Darlie made some other curious comments on the 911 call
“Somebody who did it intentionally walked in here and did it, Darin.”– Darlie Routier
“I saw them, Darin.”
“Darin, I don’t know who it was. We got to find out who it was.”
And when she was placed in the ambulance, Darlie said to her husband, “Darin, you have to promise me you will find this man. He killed our babies.”
To be perfectly frank, it reeks of staging. Darlie’s sons were dying in front of her. The last thing a mother would be preoccupied with at that moment (besides fingerprints) is “who dunnit.” Unless, of course, you dunnit, in which case you’d want to deflect attention from yourself immediately.
Note: One of Darin’s socks was discovered on the ground 75 yards from the Routier home. A considerable amount of Darlie’s DNA was found in the toe of that sock, more than would be deposited from a light touch. Both of the boys’ blood was on the sock, but Darlie’s blood was not. If an intruder had somehow used that sock while stabbing the boys and struggling with Darlie, her blood most likely would have been on the sock as well.
(Judiith Floyd, Sec. 3144-3146)
Supporters question whether the sock was actually Darin’s. It was. He even admitted it, however reluctantly, on the stand.
Davis: You told Corrine Wells on 12/3/96 that that was your sock, that it had come from your utility room?
Darin: Yes, sir.
(Darin Routier, Sec. 4338)
As it turned out, the knife handle wasn’t conducive to fingerprints, but Darlie didn’t know that in the hours after the crime. Why the excessive concern? Well, there are two possibilities:
- She feared her own fingerprints might be on the handle
- She needed an explanation for why an intruder’s prints weren’t found on the handle (i.e., I picked up the knife and “messed up his fingerprints”).
Whatever her thinking was, a reasonable inference to draw from the facts is that Darlie, attempting to avoid leaving fingerprints, put Darin’s sock over her hand before stabbing the boys. Despite her precautions, a nickel-sized spot of their blood stained the sock, and the sock came from the Routier home.
Darlie had to get rid of it. She took it to the alley, perhaps assuming that the police wouldn’t search outside the property, or she may have attempted to throw it in the nearby garbage can or down the storm drain, and missed. Upon returning to the house, she saw that Damon was still alive, and had crawled across the family room. The sock was gone, and time was short. She grabbed the knife and stabbed Damon again after inflicting some or all of her own wounds.