Darlie Routier was convicted of the murders of her two young children in a case that still has many people shaking their heads. According to Darlie Routier someone broke into their home and murdered her children and attempted to kill her however police believe that the stranger story was a fabrication and Darlie Routier murdered her children. Routier would be convicted and sentenced to death
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If it hadn’t been for that crazy Silly String, Darlie Routier might be a free woman today.At least, that’s what many people believe about the notorious Rowlett woman now on death row after savagely stabbing her 5- and 6-year-old sons 20 years ago Monday as her husband and 7-month-old son slept upstairs.
Shortly after the murders, NBC5 (KXAS-TV) captured video of Routier — with bleached hair, smacking gum and giggling — spraying Silly String on her sons’ graves. Jurors in Kerr County watched the video at least seven times before convicting Darlie Routier of capital murder in 1997 for the deaths of one of the boys.”They ended up deliberating on the Silly String,” her mother, Darlie Kee, told The Dallas Morning News this week. “Silly String is not a lethal weapon.”Routier’s family says the Silly String, provided by Darlie’s sister, was part of a birthday celebration. Her oldest son, Devon, would’ve turned 7 that day. The party followed a prayer service for both Devon and his younger brother Damon, but TV cameras didn’t capture the tears, Kee said, only a frolicking Darlie Routier. Kee maintains her daughter’s innocence, saying an intruder killed the boys. And even two decades later, there are lingering questions in some minds about Routier’s guilt.
Some point to a bloody sock found in the alley behind the family’s home as proof Darlie Routier was telling the truth about an intruder. Others don’t believe Routier is innocent but wonder if she really acted alone. And many people still have a hard time believing that a young mother could butcher her babies in cold blood.Prosecutors in the case believe the matter is settled, but it continues to wind its way through the state’s appellate court system.
No date has been set for Darlie Routier’s execution.Her attorney and family say they believe new DNA testing will prove that someone else was in the home that night 20 years ago. They say the pending tests could give Routier, now 46, a chance at a new trial.This is not solved,” Kee said. “They have not found who killed my grandsons. That person is still walking the streets.”
The case of a suburban mom fatally stabbing her young sons and then faking her own attack to cover the crime made national news in June 1996.
Photos of Devon and Damon Routier, wearing matching white jackets and bowties, peppered TV screens and newspapers. And people had suddenly heard of Rowlett, then a town of 35,000 people.Police were called to the Routier home on Eagle Drive around 2:30 a.m. on June 6, 1996. Devon, 6, was already dead when paramedics arrived. He had been stabbed all the way through his torso.Damon, 5, was gasping for breath. He had been stabbed in the back and died shortly after.“It just tears at your heart, what those two boys went through that night,” said lead prosecutor Greg Davis. “Even 20 years later, it’s hard to think about the suffering they went through. It’s something you never forget.”Routier had stab wounds on her right arm and a slash across her throat, within 2 millimeters of her carotid artery. She was taken to the hospital, where she underwent surgery.She told police that Damon woke her up and she saw a man leave through the garage. The screen over a window in the garage had been slashed.But detectives quickly suspected someone inside the home killed the boys, and medical professionals said Routier’s wounds appeared self-inflicted.
Police, doctors and nurses who talked to Darlie Routier after her sons’ murders described her as unaffected by their deaths.She didn’t appear to be grieving. The Silly String video played into that narrative.Friends, family and former neighbors described Routier as a good mother. She had no reason to kill her baby boys, they said.But that Silly String video painted a different picture. It showed a gleeful woman literally dancing on her slain babies’ graves. She was charged with two counts of capital murder days later.
“The defense claimed she was grief-stricken and shocked,” prosecutor Davis said. “The video shows she wasn’t either of those.”The Silly String video became a key part of Darlie Routier’s trial, which was moved to Kerrville because of heavy pretrial news coverage in North Texas. Prosecutors described Routier as materialistic and self-absorbed. They used her bleached hair and breast implants as examples of that. Routier’s appellate attorney, Stephen Cooper, said prosecutors focused more on judging Routier’s character and grief than on physical evidence in the house, which he said pointed to an outside assailant.”She was portrayed as this bleached blonde with enhanced breasts, living beyond her means,” Cooper said. “She did have bleached hair. She did have breast enhancements. That doesn’t make you kill your kids.”To get a death penalty, you need stuff like Silly String and character assassination.”
In the 20 years since Devon and Damon’s deaths, Routier’s family hasn’t been able to fully grieve for the boys.“I want my daughter home,” Kee said. “And then we’ll grieve together for Devon and Damon.”Kee regularly visits her daughter at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville. She plans to be there Monday, on the 20th anniversary of the boys’ murders.She won’t be allowed to hug or touch her daughter. They’ll sit separated by a pane of glass. Darlie Routier declined interview requests for this story. Kee says she never once questioned her daughter’s innocence. She and her family believe prosecutors wronged Routier, who has not been able to hug or touch her now 20-year-old son, Drake, since her conviction.”How do they give Drake his entire childhood without his mommy except through glass?” Kee asked.Drake lives in Lubbock with his father. Darlie and Darin Routier divorced in 2011. Neither Darin nor Drake could be reached for comment, but Darin Routier has previously said he believes his ex-wife is innocent.After the murders, Drake was put in the custody of his paternal grandparents. But he lived with several relatives over the years.At 17, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He is still undergoing cancer treatment but is expected to survive, Kee said.”I think it bothered him the first time he was able to talk to his mother on the phone was to tell her he had cancer,” she said.
For 20 years, the gist of Darlie Routier’s story has remained the same: she woke up to a man in her home and chased him out through the garage.But to prosecutors and other skeptics, some of Routier’s details of the attack don’t add up. How could Routier, a purported light sleeper, not wake up while her sons were brutally attacked and her own throat was slashed? How was she able to fight off an attacker but not notice her children were bloody on the floor?And why would an innocent woman mention to a 911 operator that she touched the butcher knife and hoped police could still pull fingerprints of the assailant?In the days after her sons’ deaths, Darlie Routier and her husband gave interviews to local media. She talked to nurses in the hospital. She talked to police.Each time, her story was a little different, said attorney Toby Shook, who served as a prosecutor on the case. Shook is now a Dallas criminal defense attorney.
When Darlie Routier took the witness stand, she testified all day before a standing-room-only crowd, claiming she suffered traumatic amnesia.”She said she couldn’t remember and slept through the murder,” said Shook, who cross-examined Routier. “But whenever she needed to explain the evidence, she had a good memory.”She claimed a vacuum sat atop her bloody footprints because she had trouble walking and needed to use it as a cane.”That made no sense because her legs worked just fine,” Shook said.She said her blood was around the kitchen sink because she applied wet towels to her boys’ wounds. Prosecutors said Routier probably cut her own throat over the sink. They described her injuries as superficial.”If she had been attacked, her injuries would have been far, far worse,” Shook said.
Darlie Routier and Rowlett are still linked. News crews and people with cameras still visit the two-story red brick house on Eagle Drive, which looks mostly the same as it did that night.Bleau Hartley and his family still live down the street from the Routier house. He remembers seeing police carrying out the kitchen sink, where they said she washed the knife used to kill the boys.”We were all freaking out. She came over to my neighbor’s house that day and said, ‘Somebody killed my kids,’ and we believed her,” Hartley said. “Why would you think a mom would do that? You wouldn’t.”
New people eventually moved into the house and asked Hartley to put in tile for them.”When I got there and started surveying, you could actually still see the chips in the concrete where the knife hit, you know, when she did it,” he said. “And I said, ‘Nope, this is too weird.'”New people have moved into the neighborhood, which was rocked recently by a rare December tornado. Like many people nationwide, those in the neighborhood now disagree on Darlie Routier’s guilt.”I’ve seen the documentaries and the news, and I think she’s innocent,” said Karl Hust. “The husband upstairs, asleep and doesn’t hear anything? I think he had something to do with it.”When he tells people he’s from Rowlett, people ask if he knows about her or believes she’s innocent.But others, like Patsy Thomas, studied the case after moving into the neighborhood and believe Darlie Routier did it.”Every time I go by that house, I get sad,” Thomas said. “And there’s not a time I round that corner when I don’t think about those children.”
Darlie Routier’s supporters often point to a bloody sock found in the alley about 75 yards from the family’s home.The sock had blood droplets from both Damon and Devon. Her supporters believe the sock proves that there was no way Routier killed her sons, stabbed herself, cut the window and had time to run barefoot down the alley all while leaving no blood trail of her own.
The medical examiner testified Damon could have survived about eight minutes with his wounds. Because Routier’s 911 call lasted nearly six minutes and the boy was alive when paramedics arrived, many believe it would have been impossible for Darlie Routier to stage the crime scene and take the sock to the alley.Lloyd Harrell, a private investigator who worked on Routier’s defense team, still questions how Routier was able to cut her own throat at the angle it was slashed and stab herself in her dominant right arm.And, he said, the way Routier described waking up sounds more like “coming to” after passing out, not sleeping.
Routier’s defense and appeals attorney have also pointed to an unidentified bloody fingerprint found on the coffee table in the family room.But prosecutor Davis said Routier’s supporters cherry-pick pieces of evidence to support their theory that she’s innocent.“It’s important to know the totality of the evidence. The totality of the evidence is what convinced the jury,” he said.Cooper, Darlie Routier’s appellate attorney, said he understands why a jury convicted her, even though he believes she’s innocent.“Everyone wants to get vindication for these kids getting slaughtered in their own home, and I get that,” he said. “Jurors want to believe their government has got the right person.”It’s unclear how long the additional DNA testing will take or whether Routier will ever get another trial. The State Court of Criminal Appeals upheld her conviction in 2003.Davis, who has prosecuted more than 20 death penalty cases in Dallas, Collin and McLennan counties, said it’s unusual that Routier still remains on death row. He said most of his cases have been resolved after 10 years.“The defense has yet to poke a credible hole in the case. That speaks to the strength of the evidence before the jury,” he said.But that hasn’t stopped Routier’s family and friends from standing behind her.
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Darlie Routier is currently incarcerated at the Mountain View Prison the home of death row for women in Texas
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Darlie Routier was convicted of the murders of her two young children
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No one knows accept for Darlie Routier what happened the night of the crime. Darlie Routier says someone broke in and killed her two children and attempted to kill her. Police believe that Darlie Routier set up the crime scene to cover the two murders
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