In Rowlett, Texas, Darlie Routier called 911 early in the morning on June 6, 1996, to ask for help. The wife and mother said that someone broke into their house and used a knife to hurt her and two of her young sons. They were all asleep in their home’s family room on the first floor. Her husband Darin and their eight-month-old son Drake slept in a bedroom upstairs.
Devon, 6, and Damon, 5, were found hurt but alive by police. They passed away on the way to the hospital. Darlie got hurt, but the injuries were only on the surface.
Darlie told police that she fought off an intruder while wearing dark pants, a black shirt and a baseball cap. She said she first chased the man through the kitchen and then out the garage.
The police searched the house carefully but couldn’t find any signs of a stranger entering or leaving. There were also no signs of trouble in the neighbourhood. Investigators came to focus on Darlie and her husband as the possible “intruder” who k*illed the children over time.
Mounds of Evidence Against Routier
When forensic evidence showed that Darlie’s stories were not true, she became their main suspect. The study found that the bloody splatters on the crime scene did not match Routier’s story of what happened. Forensic tests also showed that the blood drops found in the kitchen did not come from an intruder running out of the house, but from someone standing still. A lot of Routier’s blood was found around the kitchen sink, which suggests she cut her own arm and throat. This is also why the wounds were called “superficial” by doctors at the local hospital where she was treated.
The blood that was on Darlie’s nightshirt’s back shoulder looked like it came from someone moving their arm like they were swimming, like during a sta*bbing. The shirt’s puncture wounds didn’t match up with the body wounds, which makes it look like the shirt was sta*bbed on purpose to give police a story.
Police also found other problems with the crime scene, such as the murd*er weapon coming from Darlie’s own kitchen and no clear reason for the crime. They lived in a fancy house in a wealthy area with other wealthy people. The fact that valuables that were out in plain sight were not touched led police to believe that it was not a theft.
Glass rods from a kitchen knife that matched those from a window screen that had been cut in the garage were also found. At first, the police thought the cut screen was the “intruder’s” way into the house.
The police even thought Darlie’s 911 call was odd. She looked calm and didn’t do what the operator told her to do, which was to put pressure on Damon’s wounds. The woman also said, “We might have gotten fingerprints,” because she had touched the knife.
When the paramedics got to the kids, Routier didn’t follow them or ask about the hospital. Nurses also thought her behaviour was strange and out of character for a mother who had just lost two children in a theft.
A video taken by local news crews after Routier invited them to her house to celebrate Devon’s seventh birthday showed her laughing, singing, and throwing silly string on his grave. This was even more evidence of her guilt. Again, this is not the behaviour you would expect from a mother who is still upset about something that happened a week ago.
After four days, Routier was charged with mur*der.
Prosecutors said Routier wanted the boys to leave because taking care of them was too much for her. She was greedy for things and wanted to live a different life than being a mother let her. Her lawyers said she didn’t need to ki*ll the kids because she had a great life and a family that loved her. They also said that the injury on her neck didn’t fit with the idea that she hurt herself.
Routier Found Guilty; Sentenced to De*ath
In the end, prosecutors were able to convince the jury that Darlie was guilty. On February 4, 1997, she was found guilty of k*illing Damon in the first degree. She was given the de*ath sentence. No one ever tried Darlie for ki*lling Devon.
To this day, Darlie Routier still says she is innocent. In Texas, she is still on De*ath Row waiting to be put to de*ath.