"They just stabbed me and my kids. My little boys. They're gone!"
-Darlie Routier, 911 Call
It was the 6th of June 1996. A Thursday. Twenty six year old Darlie Routier was on the couch in front of the television with two of her boys. Darlie was married to Darin and they lived in a beautiful home that they had built in Roulette, Dallas, Texas, United States with their three boys.
Darlie was just fifteen years old when she met seventeen year old Darin. He worked at the Western Sizzlin’, the same place where her mother worked. As soon as Darin saw Darlie, he believed she was the one for him. She was gorgeous and full of life.
Darin and Darlie
Darin and Darlie were well known in Roulette. Darin started his own company, Testnec, which tested circuit boards and it grew fast. The company was making good money and Darin and Darlie enjoyed spending it. They both had expensive taste and opted for a marble bathroom, luxurious white carpet in the dining room and a $9,000 redwood spa for the back yard. Darin purchased a thirty foot cabin cruiser to use on Lake Ray Hubbard. He also bought a Jaguar.
Both Darin and Darlie were fond of diamonds. Darin wore a diamond watch and gold nuggets and diamond rings and Darlie had multiple diamond rings and liked to wear several of them at once. She liked to look good too and dyed her hair blonde and got size 36DDD breast implants.
Darlie, Darin, Devon and Damon
For a few years, things were really good for Darlie and Darin. Even though they enjoyed showing off their wealth, they were well liked in the neighborhood. And they were generous too. Darlie, who was a stay at home mother, cooked for neighbors when they needed food and they paid a mortgage repayment for one of the neighbors who had cancer when they were struggling to pay their bills. They were also just a really fun couple, great people to be around and children and adults loved them. Darlie would allow all the children to play at her house. They had a games room for the boys and they were happy to share it.
That morning, the 6th of June, Darlie was in the family room asleep with two of her boys, five year old Damon and six year old Devon. The boys had spent a few hours in the hot tub the night before and Darlie had wrapped them up in blankets so that they could watch the new large television she had just installed. She popped some popcorn for them and after a while, they fell asleep in front of the television. Darlie told Darin she would sleep downstairs with them. Darlie didn't have a great sleep the night before as she had woken a few times due to the baby. Her third son, Drake, was almost eight months old and often woke during the night. So she was happy to sleep on the couch that night.
At 2.31am, Darlie was wide awake. She was on the phone to a 911 operator:
"They just stabbed me and my kids. My little boys. They're gone!"
Darlie was screaming and Darin ran downstairs.
Darlie said that she was asleep but woke when she felt Damon pushing down on her shoulder. He was crying:
Darlie sat up on the couch and saw the outline of a man walking out through the kitchen and into the utility room. She followed him and found a knife on the kitchen floor. Darlie picked it up. She noticed then that the boys had been stabbed and she had also been stabbed. Darin was trying to help the boys when Darlie was on the 911 call. The police arrived within minutes.
Darlie and the Boys
Darlie had suffered a neck wound and a stab wound to the right forearm and there were bruises on her arm.
Devon was lying face up with his eyes open. But it was too late. He was dead. He had been stabbed twice in the chest. The first stab wound to the upper chest penetrated his pulmonary artery and it went into his right lung. The second stab wound was lower in the chest and went into his liver.
Damon had been stabbed four times in the back. Some of the wounds penetrated through his lungs and liver. Damon had struggled across the floor of the family room and towards the hallway and kitchen before he collapsed. When police arrived, he was face down on the floor and gasping for breath. Despite the efforts of the paramedics, Damon died before he reached hospital.
Devon and Damon
Darlie was treated in hospital for her injuries but they were described as superficial injuries.
Darlie told police about the man she saw. She only saw him from the back and side but described him as a white man wearing dark clothing and a baseball cap. When police examined the scene, they discovered that the garage, which is beside the utility room, had a window open and the screen door had been cut. It appeared that someone entered the house via the screen door in the garage and walked through the utility room, kitchen and into the family room. That was the route Darlie saw him take as he was leaving.
But as police investigated further, they discovered a few things that did not make sense in relation to the intruder story. And, in a move that shocked Darlie's family, they charged Darlie with the capital murders of her sons. Despite being charged with the murder of both of her boys, the Prosecution only moved forward with the capital murder charge against her youngest son, Damon.
It was the Prosecution's case that while life may have been great for Darlie and Darin at one point, it had not been great in the run up to that day, the 6th of June. It was their case that Darlie and Darin were struggling financially. Darin's company was no longer making good money. Darin started a second business, called Champagne Wishes, in which he would take people around the lake on his boat at sunset while they sipped champagne. But they were struggling to pay their mortgage and to live the same lifestyle that they had become used to. They tried to borrow $5000 from the Bank a few days before the murders but the Bank turned them down.
Darlie in Hospital
The Prosecution also believed that Darlie was struggling personally too and was depressed. She had a new baby, Drake, and they believed that she wanted her freedom back. It was their case that she was unhappy with how she looked, something that had always been so important to her and her desperation to lose weight after having the baby caused her great anxiety. So much so, that she had just started taking diet pills. The Prosecution also revealed to the Jury that just a little over a month before the murders, on the 3rd of May, Darlie wrote an entry in her diary that was addressed to her boys:
“I hope that one day you will forgive me for what I am about to do. My life has been such a hard fight for a long time, and I just can’t find the strength to keep fighting anymore.”
Darlie considered taking sleeping pills that day to kill herself. But she never took them.
It was the Prosecution's case that on the 6th of June, Darlie stabbed her two boys to death and then went to the sink in the kitchen and slashed her throat and cut her arm over the sink. They believed she did this over the sink because when police investigated, they discovered through the use of Luminol, that there was a large amount of blood in the sink that had been cleaned. There was no blood on the couch . This did not make sense as Darlie said that she was on the couch when the intruder attacked her.
The Prosecution also asked the Jury to look carefully at the injuries. The stab wounds inflicted on the boys were deep wounds and the wounds to Darlie were not. It was the Prosecution's case that Darlie staged the crime scene to make it look like there was an intruder. She told the 911 operator that:
"His knife was laying over there and I already picked it up."
They believed she did this so there would be an explanation for her fingerprints being on it. The knife was a knife from her own kitchen.
The Prosecution produced evidence at the Trial from a blood expert, Tom Bevel. The expert testified that blood was found on the back of Darlie's nightshirt. It was the boys’ blood and the expert believed it was likely it had gotten there when it dripped off the knife when Darlie was raising her arm above her head while stabbing the boys.
The Prosecution also referred to the screen door that had been cut. The screen was made up of fiberglass rods that are connected with a rubber polymer, a black rubbery substance. A knife that was found in Darlie's kitchen was tested. The knife was found in the knife block in the kitchen. The fiberglass rods found in the window screen, and the black rubber material, was found on the blade of that knife. It was the Prosecution's case that that was the knife that cut the screen door which indicated it had been cut from someone inside the house. Furthermore, the flowers and area outside the garage window were not disturbed. It did not look like anybody entered the house or left the house that way.
Despite all the evidence the Prosecution put forward, it was a video that seemed to have the greatest impact. The Prosecution showed the Jury a video that had been taken at the cemetery. Just a few days after the boys were murdered, on what would have been Devon’s seventh birthday, Darlie drove to the cemetery with family and friends, and laughed as she sprayed Silly String all over his grave.
It was the Defense's case that an unknown intruder murdered the two boys and tried to kill Darlie. They highlighted the fact that a sock had been found in an alley 75 yards from the house. The sock had blood on it. The blood was from both Damon and Devon. It was their case that an intruder dropped it after leaving the house.
The Defense also referred to the fact that a neighbor had reported seeing a black car at the time of the screams and other neighbors saw a black car previously driving slowly by the Routier house.
The Defense argued that Darlie could not have caused her injuries herself and they were not superficial. The only reason she did not die was because the knife stopped two millimeters short of her carotid artery. It was their case that there was no evidence at all that implicated Darlie. There was no eye witness, no confession and no motive. They claimed that there was no financial motive in the case as the Life Insurance police for the boys was for $10000 and their funerals cost $14000.
The Jury focused on the Silly String video and watched it at least seven times. They found Darlie guilty of the capital murder of Damon and she was sentenced to death by way of lethal injection.
Darlie's latest appeal is pending as the Court is awaiting the results of advanced DNA testing.
Darlie and Darin divorced but Darin does not believe that Darlie murdered the boys.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
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