Darlie Routier: A Case of Injustice

The night of June 6th, 1996 was a night that would shatter the Routier family as they knew it, catapulting them into a fight against injustice that has lasted more than 2 decades. Darlie Routier needs our help.

June 6th, 1996, Darlie Lynn Routier and her 2 children, Devon (6) and Damon (5) slept in the living room of their suburban Texas home, whilst her husband and infant son, Drake, slept upstairs. As Darlie slept on the couch, her boys slept on the floor, and noise erupting from the tv, she was awoken by pressure on her shoulder with the cries of Damon yelling “mommy, mommy!”, and was greeted with an intruder standing at the end of the couch. Immediately coming too, Darlie follows the intruder through the kitchen, hears glass breaking, and picks up a bloody knife that had been dropped while the intruder escapes through the garage. At this moment realizing her throat and arm had been slashed, and her children lay on the living room floor with severe knife wounds, fighting for their lives. Hearing Darlie’s screams, her husband, Darin, runs downstairs to this nightmare and starts performing CPR on the kids while Darlie calls 9-1-1. Dispatchers in Rowlett, Texas received a call at 2:31 AM from the Routier residence that would last almost 6 minutes. A recording of the 9-1-1 call can be found here.

“Oh my God, Oh my God my babies are dying!”

By the time paramedics arrived, Devon had succumbed to his injuries, and Darlie and Damon were transported to the hospital. Damon was pronounced Dead on Arrival. Prosecutors at trial testified that Darlie’s wounds were “superficial”, regardless of Doctors' claims her neck injury has come within 2 millimeters of hitting her carotid artery, which would killed her. Her necklace had to be surgically removed from her neck.

At the Routier home, investigators are obtaining fingerprints and take photographs of the scene. In the photographs, the same objects appeared to be in different places, showing officers did little to preserve the crime scene. James Cron, a retired officer of the Dallas Sheriffs Department, testified at Darlie’s Trial that after about 20 to 30 minutes of investigating the crime scene, it appeared to him no intruder had been there. Investigators noted a window screen on the first floor had been cut, and a layer of dust on the window appeared to be undisturbed, furthering them to think no intruder had been there. Even though this was an unusually large window, with someone being perfectly capable of coming and going without even touching the window sill. A bloody sock confirmed to be that of Damon and Devin was found 75 yards away from the home next to a trash can.

Just emerging from her surgery and still under the influence of medications like Phenergan and Demerol, she was questioned by investigators. Darlie survived her injuries and was released from the hospital.

8 days after the murders of Devon and Damon, the local news showcased a birthday party at the boys' gravesite in honor of Devon who would have turned seven. Darlie and other family members were seen smiling and laughing, with Darlie smacking on her chewing gum, spraying silly string, and singing Happy Birthday. This footage ultimately sealed Darlie’s fate, with people citing no grieving mother would act like that. What the news failed to show, was the 2-hour prayer vigil that had took place beforehand, and every person grieves in their own way. Darlie said in that same video "He wanted to be seven. I did the only thing I knew to do to honor him and give him all his wishes because he wasn't here anymore. But how do you know what you're going to do when you lose two children? How do you know how you're going to act?

Darlie was arrested and charged with the Capital Murder of Damon, just 4 days later.

The prosecution claimed Darlie Routier murdered her 2 children for financial purposes/gain, describing her as a "pampered, materialistic woman with substantial debt, plummeting credit ratings, and little money in the bank, who feared that her lavish lifestyle was about to end". Prosecutions claims of Darlie murdering her children for financial gain were refuted by the defense on the basis, the Life Insurance amount of Devon and Damon only amount to about 10,000, barely enough to cover funeral expenses. If she was after financial gain, why wouldn’t she kill her husband who had a life insurance policy of $800,000?

The Prosecution thrived on the idea that Darlie inflicted the last fatal stab on Damon, ran 75 yards away, deposited the sock, ran back, inflict her throat slash and knife wounds on her right arm (she is right-handed), staged a crime scene, and call 9-1-1 all within 8 minutes? Damon’s injuries would have given him minutes to survive, Paramedics and Investigators both noted to have seen Damon alive upon their arrival, it would have been impossible for Darlie to do this in such a short amount of time.

Jurors requested “the silly string video” and watched it over a dozen times. Lead defense attorney Doug Mulder says “in all the murder cases I have tried, I have seen a self-inflicted wound in the neck like that”

Darlie Routier was convicted of murdering Damon on February 4th, 1997, and was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

Since her conviction, Darlie actively maintains her innocence. Her defense attorneys noted thousands of errors made in the official transcript of the trials and the mishandling of the crime scene to the appeals court, but they dismissed their claims. However, Her defense team was granted a new round of DNA for the unknown fingerprints found at the scene, who did not belong to Darlie or Darin and are still awaiting the results.

Darlie Routier is proof of the injustice that comes out of our broken system. Darlie needs our help, please visit additional links belong on how you can help Darlie.

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Murders & Coffee strives to bring awareness of the unsolved cold cases that have consumed our nation. With the creation of #MissingPersonMonday, I have made it my mission to not let these faces be forgotten

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